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Chancellor launches yet another tax evasion campaign

Chancellor George Osborne, in his infinite wisdom, has gone ahead with plans for an all-new campaign to stamp out tax evasion once and for all.

Do I sound a bit skeptical? Well it’s because I am – we’ve been down this road before, and somehow I don’t think this is going to lead us to the right destination this time either. Still, you’ve got to hand it to the chancellor; when it comes to these new tax avoidance schemes, hope certainly springs eternal doesn’t it?

This time, he’s decided to have Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs work hand in hand with other G20 member nations in an attempt to take down anyone using an offshore account as a tax shelter. This is just an extension of the deal the UK signed on to last year, allying itself with Italy, Spain, Germany and France to root out tax dodgers. For what it’s worth there has been some success with having countries ally against this brand of tax avoidance, as 43 countries are now taking steps to make it harder and less cost-effective to use offshore accounts since the inception of the scheme last year.

So there you have it – the wheels are turning in George Osborne’s head, and apparently this time it’s personal. Of course I’m not going to be holding my breath to see if it works this time. I simply think there’s too many large multinationals that have their hands in the political process – these same multinationals that have not just been criticised for not paying their fair share of taxes but also that have been instrumental in pressurising lawmakers into leaving legal loopholes in the tax laws for their own benefit in the first place.

These same companies have many global economies in a viselike grip by threatening to pull up tent stakes and relocate, taking hundreds – or even thousands – of jobs with them to ‘more economically advantageous’ locations. The real problem is that we’ve let these companies take the reins, and now there’s no way to get it back in a decisive manner that doesn’t involve the concerted efforts of the entire global legislative community. Meanwhile it’s these same damned legislators that got us into this predicament in the first place! It’s a bloody mess if you ask me.

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