Tax Avoidance – The new morality

Even the Politician’s have given up any thought of defending their expenses and whenever challenged seem to resign (agree not to stand again!) and adopt a stony silence.

The picture that comes most easily to mind is that of Del Boy in Only Fools & Horses saying “Maya Culpa Rodney Maya Culpa”.

The expenses scandal is of interest to taxpayers in many ways but most interesting from a tax perspective is that MP’s electing for their second homes to become their main residence and therefore not paying capital gains tax on disposal has become morally reprehensive behaviour.

I think this is probably more because of the public funding of those homes but it does have wider implications for tax payers who for years have used the statutory ability to eliminate or reduce their capital gains tax liabilities on disposal of their second homes by making elections in the way set out by parliament, by election.

The Treasury is trying to impose a code of conduct for large lending institutions which basically prohibit them from engaging in tax avoidance activities.

As the banks have not only been one of the major litigants on tax matters in the UK over the last decade but have also been at the forefront of tax avoidance initiatives for their employees and themselves it would be a massive step for the banks to cave in on this.

The Government is even proposing should the banks not come into line they will legislate.

This will take the law far beyond where we currently are and have been for many years since the Duke of Westminster’s House of Lords decision victory the general principal that an Englishman may arrange his affairs as he wishes with a view to minimising his tax liabilities.

It looks like our MP’s and bankers of even more to answer for than we might of at first thought!

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