So it seems like this morning all anybody is talking about is Jimmy Carr and is morally indefensible tax arrangements.  Twitter is alight with people from all political persuasions lambasting him either for daring to avoid tax or for being hypocritical in doing so after his lampooning of Barclay’s over the same issue.  The thing is though with all this moral outrage going on I’m really starting to feel sorry for the chap, I doubt there are many people who when faced with their accountant saying ‘would you like to save some money on tax?’ would say no.  I do tend to fall into the camp of finding his hypocrisy unpleasant but at the same time I can see his point of view.

Also far be it from me to criticise our PM but I also think him weighing in telling the nation that there’s a morality problem really hasn’t helped and has effectively started an open season journalists looking into MP’s tax affairs, not to mention party donors and other celebrities.  The question is though where does the moral opprobrium start, is an ISA now something to be frowned upon?  How much avoidance is too much avoidance? 

There’s clearly something wrong with our tax system and how we think about tax in this country, I think most people agree we need to pay some tax but the debate about how much will always rage on.  Perhaps the answer to stopping these kinds of loopholes though is simply to close all loopholes and simplify the tax system as much as possible.  A fair flat rate of some kind, also raise more people at the lower level of tax altogether.  It won’t happen as it’d be politically huge but as things stand the only people benefiting from the system right now are the very rich, tax accountants and tax lawyers.  We’d also save a fortune by slimming down the bloated bureaucratic mess that is currently HMRC.

Advertisements