Tuesday, 26 October 2010

tax dodgers

The agreement with Switzerland means that tax-dodgers hiding money there will have to pay tax on it. On the Today programme, John Humphreys (I think it was him) asked if this meant 'ordinary people' who had done everything above board and had other reasons for keeping money in Switzerland might suddenly find themselves penalised? 'No,' said the tax expert. If they were doing everything above board, they would already have declared their interest. A surprised John Humphreys (probably) asked the same question two and a half times in such a way that it sounded to someone like me that he was realising that his money in Switzerland, as advised by a clever accountant, is actually a tax dodge.

Then the tax expert pointed out that the real thing is that this undeclared money will now be part of the capital taxed as part of inheritance. 'The taxman,' he approximately said, 'will prey on us from beyond the grave.'**

Get a grip. These things only catch you if you're a tax dodger. Inheritance tax is an important way of redistributing unearned income. I know I have said this before, but almost all the people who ever write about inheritance tax anywhere are rich enough for it to be very annoying to them, and I don't blame them for being annoyed, but that doesn't mean it isn't a very important thing. After all, tax dodging is rich people stealing money from everybody else, and it's loads and loads of money.***

**NOTE** I think it is important that people can build up money for their children. So what it all comes down to is where you draw the line. The unearned income that sticks to property is massively unfair on people who do not own property. I am happy for people to persuade me I am wrong in this.

* Who are these guys? 'Ordinary people' are all over political discourse, and they're starting to annoy me.
** I had the actual quote in my head when I started this post. It escapes me. It was better than this.
*** They don't think the law is right, but that doesn't matter. People don't get to make and choose their own laws, and god knows, these are the people with the most influence. I dare say they'll find other ways to dodge tax, but that's fine. Criminals keep committing crimes, police have to keep chasing them. That's how it works.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

'Ordinary people' are probably those 'hardworking families' that politicians keep namechecking. In that way that reminds me I am nothing - nothing - until I marry and have children.

So, my Auntie, basically.