David Artiss

Tax avoidance – scum?


Recently companies that are taking measures to avoid tax (legally) have been big news. The newspapers in particular, keen to take recent heat away from themselves, are making big issues about it. And it’s seen a rise in people rallying together and taking things into their own hands – in this case by often refusing to buy from such companies (a tactic that’s unlikely to work other than cause UK workers to lose their jobs).

But, frustraingly for me, it’s full of people who have some indignant sense of moral outrage – people I suspect are hardly in a position to throw stones themselves.

Have you ever been cut-up by another driver only for him to get angry with you? That’s them deflecting the anger at themselves elsewhere – in this case you. You’re seeing the same here – people who probably have a cupboard full of copied DVDs but complain that Vodafone might be trying to avoid some tax here or there.

All this came, for me, to a head when I read a story on PC Pro. Basically, Play.com are going to stop selling items themselves – they will rely instead on third parties. This is because the loophole that allowed them to sell cheaper products from Jersey has been closed. This means they’re having to compete with companies such as Amazon on the same level and, simply put, they can’t. What I wasn’t expecting was one of the comments…

Good ridance to Play.com and all companies whose only competitive advantage is a tax dodge. Tax havens are parasites and should face diplomatic and economic sanctions, or be nuked.

Extreme? Yes. But it’s not unusual

Photo credit: Alan Cleaver


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