The hoo ha over Jimmy Carr’s offshore tax minimising arrangements and his subsequent “error of judgement” contrition statement earlier today now firmly puts the tax system under the spotlight once again if only momentarily.
What conclusions can we draw from this media driven exercise of pass-the-parcel of hypocrisy? Blindingly obvious ones include:
The well off frequently have greater access to clever accountants and associated creative accounting.
That ‘the system’ allows these tax loopholes and there hasn’t been the political will to close them (money=power and influence plus some politicians may even exploit them?).
That, on the whole, people dislike paying tax in Britain even if they also want good public services funded by them. It’s a something for nothing culture at every level (too harsh?).
Would Joe public be placated / easily bought if they/we all had access to creative accounting whether self employed or an employee (many would love all employees to be self employed). Is the argument really that we lose vast amounts of tax revenue to such clever accounting or is it more that some of us are not all ‘in it together’ tax burden wise? If we all had access to creative accountants with the ability to offset our tax for work related expenses would the arguments over lost revue evaporate (A kind of sod public services anyway point of view).
That these loopholes give the impression that paying taxes and therefore contributing to society is for the plebs below a certain earning/talent/status level.
Or that people of means resent the tax system as they see themselves as largely self made, hard working and resent their money being used for things they don’t agree with (See singer Adele’s past remarks over her resentment to paying tax that funds Buses she never uses).
That enough people are inherently greedy.We all want more.That’s human nature.
That we don’t like to talk about what we earn though we may have a nagging suspicion that many others may may not deserve what they earn (when we are inevitably undervalued and short changed).
That we do like to carp about people who seemingly earn more money than us.
That almost nobody is advancing the argument that in a civil society taxes are a good and that if we want good public services we should be prepared to pay for them (a tax system without inequalities and holes being a necessary partner to this).
That the resentment over paying tax boils down to feeling powerless about what our taxes are spent on.
And finally that The Prime Minister, David Cameron may have opened a can of worms with this particular topic that may resonate awkwardly in the same way as John Major’s back to basics morality sound bite focused on the morality of many in his own cabinet. He’s fired the starting pistol for the microscope to be waved over anybody in the public eye. The question is will anything change due to current faux outrage by the media. Or will we forget it all much like the revelations over MP expenses?