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Tax evasion and tax avoidance: not-so victimless crimes

Think tax evasion and tax avoidance harm no one? Well you’d be dead wrong if you believe the recent words of a charity spokesman.

At a recent hearing of the Finance Committee dealing with the financial implications of Scotland’s independence referendum, representatives from both Inclusion Scotland and the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland gave evidence, declaring that the impact of tax avoidance and tax evasion literally ‘blighted’ the life chances of children. Life expectancy rates for children growing up in poverty are reduced by two decades because there aren’t enough taxpayer-funded benefit programmes to help these children claw their way up out of poverty, said Inclusion Scotland’s Bill Scott – and that some of the worst situations are when a child is either born with a disability or becomes disabled at a young age, leaving parents in dire financial straits and in many instances unable to care for the child properly.

Now I obviously don’t have to point this out to anyone reading this but he has a point – tax avoiders essentially prevent benefits from being funded fully, resulting in massive cuts that leave wide swathes of at-risk Brits in terrible situations just when they need it most. It’s one of the biggest reasons why, even though I may whinge about how contractors and freelancers seem to be over-targeted by anti-tax avoidance measures, I realise that the Government needs taxpayer money in order to provide for the less fortunate.

Of course this doesn’t change the fact that you could end up with shedloads more cash in Treasury coffers – and a damn sight fewer children being brought up in poverty – if the Government would stop being afraid of big-name multinational companies when it comes to going after their high-profile tax avoidance schemes. If I have to read one more article about how some massive company like Starbucks, Amazon or Google raked in billions in revenue and just shunted them overseas to avoid paying corporation tax in the UK like they should be I’ll probably go stark raving mad. The only people who seem to enjoy the idea of starving children are the accountants working for these multinationals, apparently; it’s these fine upstanding bastards that find all the legal loopholes required for routing their company’s cash through Luxembourg or other similar tax shelters.

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