Tax is something we pay. Most of us do it voluntarily but there are some among us who use tax to their advantage. Tax avoidance is legal, tax evasion is illegal.
The Lux Leaks, The Swiss Leaks, The Panama Papers and the Bahama Leaks demonstrate that it is the wealthy among us that go to great lengths to avoid paying tax. They create complicated structures which become evermore opaque and in doing so obscure ownership.
A YouGov found in March 2015 that 59 per cent of people think it is “unacceptable” to legally avoid tax, compared to only 32 per cent who think it is reasonable.
Although the public as a whole are against the practice, respondents were spilt by social class: Those in the upper middle class (“ABC1”) were far more likely to defend the practice than those in working class occupations.
Labour, Ukip and Green supporters believe that avoiding tax is wrong by large margins, while Conservative and Lib Dem supporters tended to think legal tax avoidance is acceptable by a small margin.
So Lets take an example and you can decide for yourself if tax avoidance is wrong.
Mr Julian Charles Berry, who lives in Saltwood (left) is named in the Panama Papers as is his business Partner John Terence Lister (right), but how do they get there. Well both Gentlemen are Directors in company called SECUREMYBOOKING.COM LIMITED. The company Secure My Booking has its own website which you can visit here. The website tells us
“SecureMyBooking.com is owned by JM Marketing Ltd (JMM), a long established intermediary and binding underwriter on behalf of syndicates at Lloyd’s of London, based in the City of London.”
JM Marketing Ltd to have their own website www.jmmltd.com. Mr Berry and Mr Lister both move offshore via Capital Growth Limited which is an intermediary of NOVO CASTRIA LIMITED an offshore entity of Gibraltar, of which Julian Charles Berry and John Terence Lister are shareholders according to the Panama Papers.
Julian Charles Berry is also mentioned in the Panama Papers because he allows YI XIAO MIN linked to China and a shareholder in GOLDENSOURCE INTERNATIONAL TRADE CO., LTD. registered in the British Virgin Islands to use his address, WHITE HOUSE, CASTLE ROAD SALTWOOD HYTHE CT21 4QY KENT UK.
Is the avoidance of tax perpetrated by Berry & Lister wrong? Do they deprive the UK of money? The clear answer to that question is yes they do, but there is nothing wrong in doing so because it is legal, but just because something is legal doesn’t necessarily mean it is right, does it?
Remember Jimmy Carr was once pilloried for using tax avoidance schemes in Jersey by the then Prime Minster of the day – “Dodgy Dave” Cameroon. But Jimmy Carr kept his response to the discovery of former Prime Minister David Cameroon tax affairs being offshore in the Bahamas, by saying
“I’m going to keep it classy,” he posted on his Twitter account. “It would be ‘morally wrong’ and ‘hypocritical’ to comment on another individual’s tax affairs.”
Tax has created the society we live in. It builds schools, roads, lorry parks, hospitals, pays for books, medicines, armaments etc. None of us mind these things because they are useful and necessary in our Society, who would argue against Hospitals being built with taxpayers money.
Society in the UK is becoming more unequal and those who have the money like Berry & Lister are in there very small way contributing to this inequality. Tax havens harbour some $21-32 Trillion in financial assets sitting offshore, largely untaxed, the offshore system of tax havens clearly has mind-bending effects on inequality within and between countries.
In Shepway where Mr Julian Charles Berry lives 41% of children live in poverty.The average salary/wage is well below the national average. People can’t afford houses yet more and more homes across the district are becoming second homes for people who do not actually live in them. This of course is NOT all Mr Berry & Lister’s fault.
So who is responsible? We’ll leave you to decide that.