Friday, 22 June 2012
Life Is Always Taxing
I don't find Jimmy Carr's version of humour in the least amusing but perhaps that's because I'm of a generation with fond memories of Les Dawson and Morcambe and Wise.
Mr Carr's finances permit him to employ those who specialise in tax avoidance. Few of us can afford such luxuries and Mr Carr's form of avoidance is not available to those who earn through the PAYE system.
Out taxation system is exceptionally complicated and when laws are excessive there are always loopholes, mainly because over time, one law begins to contradict another. HMRC are well aware of loopholes - they have officers delegated specifically to the issue - but they stand little chance of closing loopholes because of the lengthy bureaucratic system involved.
I've no problem with anyone managing, legally, to pay less tax - who wouldn't want to do so? What I do have a problem with is Mr Carr's hypocrisy. He's a man who earns his living deriding those who avoid paying standard tax rates yet he is - or was until yesterday - part of that group.
As for his declaration that he has 'made a terrible error of judgement' it smacks of nothing more than a desperate attempt to save his career.
David Cameron's comment about Mr Carr's use of a legal tax avoidance scheme as being 'morally wrong' held a distinct whiff of irony. Governments legislate on national tax matters but it doesn't suit politicians to push for a fairer, simplified system which would ensure equality for all. Why would they upset their wealthy friends?
For once Ed Miliband expressed some common sense: "I'm not in favour of tax avoidance obviously, but I don't think it is for politicians to lecture people about morality."
Life is always taxing and in more ways than one as Mr Carr has found out. He obviously doesn't have the same connections as Gary Barlow and Philip Green - both men who have 'interesting' tax arrangements.