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IoD to Chancellor: stop calling tax planning ‘tax avoidance’

The Institute of Directors has had it with Chancellor George Osborne and his short-sighted view of British tax reform, calling for an end to political rubbish.

The Government needs to stop painting tax issues with such a broad brush, says the IoD, singling out the Chancellor to stop lumping tax planning efforts in with the kinds of instances of tax avoidance that can get you in serious trouble. Doing so is doing nothing but making it harder for the UK to emerge from the still moribund global economy as an economic leader once more, the IoD added.

The culprit behind the whole thing, or at least as far as the organisation of business leaders is concerned? Overly politicised speech designed to act as polemical diatribes to whip the country into a frenzy. You can’t tout yourself as business-friendly as a Government whilst at the same time shifting its citizens’ hearts and minds towards the erroneous belief that using tax planning to ensure a company pays no more than they must should be treated the same as tax avoidance or outright tax evasion.

Now for what it’s worth I agree with the IoD, but at the same time there’s a lot of tax avoidance masquerading as tax planning right now – or there’s massive tax avoidance that’s simply ignored by the Government because it stems not from a small business or a contractor accountant but instead a massive multinational that has the Government by the bollocks. I mean you don’t think that the kind of massive tax avoidance that companies like Starbucks, Amazon and Google engage in here should just be glossed over, do you?

Ministers would say ‘yes’ to that question out of fear that a multinational threatened with the novel notion of being held responsible for all of its tax liability and not just a tiny percentage of it would simply take its ball and go home, leaving the British economy in the lurch – and many hundreds of thousands of British workers as well to boot. So instead we’ve got the situation we’re in now; the Government tries to look tough to everyone even as it bows and scrapes to massive multinationals. Honestly it makes me sick.

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