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Source: (consider it) Thread: Are we bothered?
ExclamationMark
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Reports yesterday (link the investments of the Royal Family to tax avoiding trusts overseas et al.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/paradise-papers-5-extraordinary-revelations-from-massive-leak/ar-AAutI8q?li=AA59G2&ocid =spartanntp

Should we be concerned? Is this a question where a good example should be set by those in public life? (Note: The Duchy of Lancaster is described as the Queen's private money but it was land etc. gifted to a previous monarch by the state).

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mr cheesy
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The monarchy is an anathema. Is it any surprise that the wealthiest pensioner in the country has used her wealth as an investor in predatory companies which prey on the poor and in low tax overseas investments. Of course not.

I doubt that she personally knows anything about these investments, of course. I'm not sure that this changes anything.

More worrying I think personally is that there are active politicians in the House of Lords who have non-dom status and who pay little or no tax in this jurisdiction. And that twitter and facebook are being supported on a bubble of Russian cash. Next to that, what those men in black suits are doing on behalf of Queen Bess pales into insignificance.

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arse

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BroJames
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There is an argument to be made about the use of the Duchy of Lancaster, and its relation or not to the Civil List payments, but it doesn’t seem quite accurate to describe it as something given to the monarch by the state. At the time it was acquired by the monarch the distinction between monarch and state was far from clear, indeed it is arguable that the state as we understand it didn’t really exist at the time. Also, there seems to have been a very early (15th Century) intention to separate the Duchy from general Crown assets.
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Martin60
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Yeaaaahhhh, we're bothered. I expect Her excellent Christian Majesty to maximize noblesse oblige, which I'm sure she thinks she does (and she does better than most of us with our privilege I'm sure) but perhaps here is an area for improvement.

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Love wins

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andras
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I'm bothered too; actually, I'm bl**dy furious, though it's only what one would expect of these self-regarding leeches. After all, when Britain had its back to the wall in the Second World War, Mrs. Windsor's father was busily negotiating a deal to avoid having to pay tax, a deal which only ended a couple of decades ago.

Now we are assured that she pays tax 'voluntarily.' Nice work if you can get it!

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God's on holiday.
(Why borrow a cat?)
Adrian Plass

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Anglican't
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Not really overseas, is it? Bermuda's head of state invests money in Bermuda. Cayman Islands' head of state does same.
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L'organist
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posted by Exclamation Mark
quote:
Note: The Duchy of Lancaster is described as the Queen's private money but it was land etc. gifted to a previous monarch by the state.
Strictly speaking not true. Some of it is land-holdings forfeited by 2 people (Simon de Montfort and the Earl of Derby) who attempted a coup against Henry III; the rest passed to the crown through various marriages. What we now know as The Duchy of Lancaster is what was gained on marriage by John of Gaunt and his oldest son, Henry Bolingbroke, decided to keep the estate as a separate entity for a male heir of the sovereign. It was later decided (I think by John of Bedford, regent for the infant Henry VI and a brother of Henry IV) that the Duchy should be for the personal use of the sovereign.

As has been pointed out, at the time the Duchy was constituted there was little or no distinction between "the state" and "the crown". In fact in separating "state" possessions from "crown" the English monarchy was centuries ahead of its European counterparts.

The perennial argument about the deal made by George VI on tax is a red-herring since his predecessors hadn't paid tax: the deal came about because of the abdication of Edward VIII (who, incidentally, ripped-off his brother blind when he went off to marry his American) and was necessary since it wasn't entirely clear what the position was in law with 2 people alive who could claim to be king (as a title) for tax purposes.

As for the current news about the Duchy monies and foreign jurisdictions:

1. The Queen is head of state of several of these so-called tax havens: what is so wrong about the monarch holding bank accounts in these places?

2. Before we all get too high and mighty about it, you'll find many pension providers do the same thing - so anyone getting a pension is likely to benefit from this sort of arrangement.

3. On a scale of 1 to 10 this is chicken-feed when compared to the corporate tax evasion of Amazon, Google, etc. Notably, Facebook paid only £2.6million on profits of nearly £60m so how about people start to beat-up Zuckerberg & Co, or organise a boycott of Instagram, WhatsApp, etc?

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:


The perennial argument about the deal made by George VI on tax is a red-herring since his predecessors hadn't paid tax: the deal came about because of the abdication of Edward VIII (who, incidentally, ripped-off his brother blind when he went off to marry his American) and was necessary since it wasn't entirely clear what the position was in law with 2 people alive who could claim to be king (as a title) for tax purposes.


OTOH, I'm glad Edward VIII went off to marry his American. Had he been king in 1939, the second world war would never have happened, and for all the wrong reasons.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:


1. The Queen is head of state of several of these so-called tax havens: what is so wrong about the monarch holding bank accounts in these places?

If she wants to go and live there, then fine.

Living here, sponging off us and then just using them as a source of untaxed income is a slap in the face.

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arse

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:


1. The Queen is head of state of several of these so-called tax havens: what is so wrong about the monarch holding bank accounts in these places?

If she wants to go and live there, then fine.

Living here, sponging off us and then just using them as a source of untaxed income is a slap in the face.

Exactly. The way everyone bends over backwards to defend this anachronistic sycophancy based system of inherited privilege and everything it does would be funny if it weren't so tragically and almost completely built into the British psyche.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:

2. Before we all get too high and mighty about it, you'll find many pension providers do the same thing - so anyone getting a pension is likely to benefit from this sort of arrangement.

This is not true. The pension providers that the average worker pays into will not directly benefit from this kind of thing, they are unlikely to indirectly benefit either (via buying into funds that do) because of the disclosure requirements.

quote:

3. On a scale of 1 to 10 this is chicken-feed when compared to the corporate tax evasion of Amazon, Google, etc. Notably, Facebook paid only £2.6million on profits of nearly £60m so how about people start to beat-up Zuckerberg & Co, or organise a boycott of Instagram, WhatsApp, etc?

This is also not true. At best the problems are similar in magnitude, the amount that the super-rich have offshore is many times that of the few tech companies you name.

'They are all at it' is an argument trotted out against every attempt at tax reform ever.

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M.
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Tell me again what's wrong with organising one's affairs so as not to pay more tax than necessary, quite legally?

M.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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It is the tax laws and regulations which are problems everywhere. The very wealthy may avoid tax entirely legally. But morally and ethically wrong.

The overseas slave trade, indentured labour, colonization were also entirely legal in the past. But wrong.

[ 06. November 2017, 12:26: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]

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Alan Cresswell

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# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by M.:
Tell me again what's wrong with organising one's affairs so as not to pay more tax than necessary, quite legally?

For me, the two top problems are:

1. It's not something everyone has the opportunity to benefit from. Most of us can't direct our salaries through somewhere that the amount of tax paid is significantly reduced, only the rich and powerful have this opportunity.

2. By skimping on tax payments that means that the finances necessary to maintain social structures (police, roads, health care, education etc) need to be be met by those who don't get to avoid paying taxes - ie: the rest of us pay more than we otherwise would do. Which is, in my opinion, an example of the rich stealing from the poor.

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Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by M.:
Tell me again what's wrong with organising one's affairs so as not to pay more tax than necessary, quite legally?

There is nothing 'wrong' with it in the abstract. The issue is that these mechanisms are 'unintended' at one level - as Alan points out above they are not available to everyone, and if everyone availed themselves of them then society couldn't function in its present form.

Which is an argument for making all of these things more transparent as a step towards making tax more equitable.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by M.:
Tell me again what's wrong with organising one's affairs so as not to pay more tax than necessary, quite legally?

M.

If you look at the beneficiaries of these loopholes, you will find that a disproportionate number of them are involved in making these laws.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Brenda Clough
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Speaking as an American, if I were you I would be terribly, vividly concerned at Russian meddling in your affairs. At the very minimum, make these financial entanglements very clear. Do not be like us! Be smarter!

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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M.
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Those are problems with the law rather than the people that take advantage of it, aren't they?

What about, for instance, salary sacrifice or even ISAs? Shouldn't people avail themselves of those?

I suppose what I'm trying to articulate is that I can understand people saying the law is wrong. That then becomes a policy matter or balancing act to decide where the line should be drawn.

But I don't understand the industrial-scale ire - not just the odd person saying 'it shouldn't be allowed' but splashed across the newspapers and tv news - against people doing what the law allows.

M.

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lilBuddha
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Much ado about the wrong damn thing.
It isn’t the individuals who use the laws but the laws themselves that are the real problem.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Dark Knight

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You have missed the point.

Sioni said it best.

--------------------
Wronger than a drooling idiot on stupid juice - but I understand his argument.
mousethief (paraphrase)
----
Love is as strong as death (Song of Solomon 8:6).

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Alan Cresswell

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Clearly, there is an issue with the laws. I suspect a lot of the national ire is misdirected, people are angry that laws exist that legally allow people to take advantage of loop-holes to avoid paying tax that they themselves can't use.

But, I think there is also a problem with the individuals. Ultimately, the company at the centre of this set of revelations (in common with previous examples of the same sort of practice) makes it's money by helping those with a lot of money to invest get the maximum return from that investment without any other consideration. And, reducing the tax paid on that return is simply part of that equation. If the individuals were looking at their vast wealth as an opportunity to help others, while still getting a return on their investment, then I think most people would think differently. A lot of these tax havens are relatively poor countries (though, some are most definitely not), and if HM (for example) wants to help those countries by investing a few million in local banks providing affordable loans to local small businesses then I for one would consider that commendable. But, investing in a bank in a country when all they're doing is playing the global stock markets to get the maximum return is a different moral situation.

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Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by M.:

What about, for instance, salary sacrifice or even ISAs? Shouldn't people avail themselves of those?

Completely different things and therefore a false comparison.

There's a level of intentionality and democratic control over both that there isn't over - say - the "double Irish with a Dutch sandwich".

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Bishops Finger
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Perhaps some of these ultra-rich fat cats need to be reminded that there are no pockets in a shroud.

1 Timothy 6:6-8

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

[Disappointed]

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by M.:
Tell me again what's wrong with organising one's affairs so as not to pay more tax than necessary, quite legally?

M.

The law.

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Love wins

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M.
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Bugger, wrote a post and then lost it. Can't be bothered to do it again.

But (pretty unprecedentedly) I agree with lilBuddha, the people taking advantage are the wrong target.

M.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by M.:
Bugger, wrote a post and then lost it. Can't be bothered to do it again.

But (pretty unprecedentedly) I agree with lilBuddha, the people taking advantage are the wrong target.

M.

But as I said, those who benefit most, had a lot to do with making the law.

--------------------
"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by M.:
Bugger, wrote a post and then lost it. Can't be bothered to do it again.

But (pretty unprecedentedly) I agree with lilBuddha, the people taking advantage are the wrong target.

M.

But as I said, those who benefit most, had a lot to do with making the law.
And how does this go against what I said? Targeting ire at the Queen, or any other individual who may benefit is an act of frustration that serves nothing,* whether or not they might also be involved in making the laws. Target the system which allows this to happen and change the laws.

*Not entirely true. It serves the people who make those laws because it directs emotion tangentially and voters do not have the stamina, knowledge or fucking anything to really enact change.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Dark Knight

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They are the system.

How are you not getting this?

--------------------
Wronger than a drooling idiot on stupid juice - but I understand his argument.
mousethief (paraphrase)
----
Love is as strong as death (Song of Solomon 8:6).

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Alan Cresswell

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The individuals concerned have made a decision in how they invest their money, a decision that has moral implications if not legal. They have chosen not to invest their money (or, some of it) in financial institutions in the country where they reside or where they made their money, where that investment would benefit that nation through the generation of business (ie: because those banks etc they invest in employ people, and in turn re-invest often within that country) and taxation. Nor have they chosen to invest in a manner that brings those tax revenues to impoverished countries. That is their decision, made freely and without coercion.

Is that not something that should generate some ire towards those individuals?

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Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Dark Knight:
They are the system.

How are you not getting this?

WE are the system for fuck's sake.

How are you not getting the point that whinging about the queen doesn't fix shit? Whinging about any individual tends to serve as a pressure relief valve which would not be bad except that nothing else is done until the next, "OMG, did you hear? So-and-so is avoiding taxes!" OUTRAGE Outrage outrage outr...snore
Rinse and repeat.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:

Is that not something that should generate some ire towards those individuals?

Yes. But the problem is that this is as far as it gets.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Dark Knight:
They are the system.

How are you not getting this?

WE are the system for fuck's sake.

Except, in many ways we aren't. We live in biased democracies, and that bias is well and truly in favour of the rich and powerful. The politicians in Parliament (or, Senate etc) are supposed to represent us. But, in practice they are either rich and powerful themselves, or in the pockets of those with the money. It takes a hell of a public reaction to convince them to vote for reform of the law to make tax avoidance illegal, because that will be to the financial disadvantage of either themselves, their family and friends, or the fat cats that fund their election campaigns. With the Panama Papers still relatively fresh in peoples memory, maybe this time there will be enough pressure to force a cosmetic tweak to the law, but I'm not holding my breath (especially as the UK has a nice juicy "sex scandal" to divert our attention from the money).

--------------------
Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

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mr cheesy
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Many people have less than £1000 in savings, so the idea that we're somehow all part of a system that legally allows us to avoid tax is utterly laughable.

Yes, there are British government ISAs and tax-free savings which one can take out. But they're by definition (a) limited as to the amount of saving you can have and (b) the interest rates are so low that often they're not worth having anyway.

One has to have millions and millions to put away offshore for it to even be worth the cost of sending it, never mind the management fees.

The fact is that there are bastards in this country who want all the benefits of living and working here but when the state comes around to pay for things hold out empty pockets, shrug and say "I don't have nuffink, guv."

And there is a whole other group of utter wankers who want to pretend that this behaviour is absolutely fine-and-dandy because our fantastically complicated accountancy system of law has (unsurprisingly) massive loopholes the rich can drive a private jet through.

No it isn't fine-and-dandy. Yes those who take advantage of these schemes - which might be "legal" - deserve the shame that is poured upon them.

If they didn't think it was a shameful thing to be doing, why do you think that they've been hiding it up to now?

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arse

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Baptist Trainfan
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Couldn't agree more, Alan and Cheesy. Just because something is "legal" doesn't mean it's "right".
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
WE are the system for fuck's sake.

Except, in many ways we aren't. We live in biased democracies, and that bias is well and truly in favour of the rich and powerful. The politicians in Parliament (or, Senate etc) are supposed to represent us. But, in practice they are either rich and powerful themselves, or in the pockets of those with the money. It takes a hell of a public reaction to convince them to vote for reform of the law
Not denying any of this. Still, it happens at our sufferance.
Whinging without action is pointless.

quote:
but I'm not holding my breath (especially as the UK has a nice juicy "sex scandal" to divert our attention from the money).

This complaint about the Queen is not different. It is a distraction.

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Ian Climacus

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Still, it happens at our sufferance.
Whinging without action is pointless.

Sorry for being thick, but what can we do?

Who is going to change the laws? Not the current crop of politicians as Alan said: they're ensconced in it one way or the other.

Any leftist who tried I can see being howled down wih derision and cries of "Envy!" and "Higher taxes for all!"; and your average punter may give in.

Perhaps I'm jaded. Or just over getting my hopes up some party or set of individuals has the guts and the means to make real change. Our form of capitalism is stuffed, the elites [left and right] couldn't give a shit, and this is Evidence A of many. But I'm buggered if I know what the alternative is.

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Arethosemyfeet
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There is a distance of a thousand miles or more between taking advantage of tax incentives (like ISAs, pensions, salary sacrifice for childcare vouchers et al) which are specifically set up to be used for that purpose and using them as-intended and, on the other hand, creating complex structures that cost so much money that they're only worth having if you have obscene amounts of money in the first place to avoid paying tax at the appropriate rate for your income. "It's legal" is not a defence for you paying a far lower tax rate than the average earner on PAYE. Nobody pretends it was ok to pay people £1/hour before the national minimum wage came in just because it was legal. [I deleted more emotive comparisons to avoid clouding the issue]
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I am not at all bothered about this. It is a comparatively small amount of money (for the very rich), there is nothing illegal about it. Lets be clear, I would rather she had the money than most politicans.

I am more bothered about politicians who are avoiding tax, while being paid to serve the country. This is in both houses.

I think there are much bigger stories in these papers. I think there are much bigger scandals, which is why some people are, I suspect, trying to focus the attention on Her Majesty.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
I am not at all bothered about this. It is a comparatively small amount of money (for the very rich), there is nothing illegal about it. Lets be clear, I would rather she had the money than most politicans.

Sorry, that's factually incorrect, in aggregate it's a lot of money.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2012/07/23/super-rich-hide-21-trillion-offshore-study-says/

quote:

I think there are much bigger scandals, which is why some people are, I suspect, trying to focus the attention on Her Majesty.

The focus on the queen is symbolic, the issue is far more serious. Centrists and those on the right should take this issue more seriously than most, it undermines democracy and society as presently constituted, and brings into disrepute the system they claim to want to variously reform or defend.
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Ricardus
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Question: how much is actually lost to the Exchequer through these schemes?

Because if the point of investing in offshore companies in Bermuda is to increase your returns (because the company pays less corporation tax in Bermuda and therefore has lower overheads) - then surely you will end up paying more tax (as an absolute figure if not as a rate) on your income from investment, simply because your income from investment is higher?

So say Ricardus Investments (Bermuda) LLP has an ROI that is 20% better than Ricardus Investments (UK) LLP, because the latter pays corporation tax and the former doesn't. But then my investment income will be 20% higher by investing in the Bermudan version - and so the tax on investment income I pay will be 20% higher as well.

(OK in practice the numbers won't be as neat as that, but ISTM it's not just as simple as offshore investment = no corporation tax = no tax at all.)

[ 06. November 2017, 21:53: Message edited by: Ricardus ]

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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The initial estimate of the lost tax per year for Canada is $6 billion with these schemes.

Question: does the queen need all the money and other assets she owns? How much does she do for what she's got? And why do Canadian taxpayers have to pay for royal visits here if they have so much cash and assets?

Question: why did it take a leak to learn about all these extremely rich people with foreign bank accounts? If it is legal, why was it all secret? Because outrage?

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Question: how much is actually lost to the Exchequer through these schemes?

Because if the point of investing in offshore companies in Bermuda is to increase your returns (because the company pays less corporation tax in Bermuda and therefore has lower overheads) - then surely you will end up paying more tax (as an absolute figure if not as a rate) on your income from investment, simply because your income from investment is higher?

The sort of scheme being shown on Panorama earlier meant that your investment never came to you as income to be taxed. You create a fund in some zero (or very low) tax country, and have all your earnings paid into it. That fund then buys things which you, as an advisor, deem suitable - a nice house, car, boat etc which is then owned by the fund, which grants you exclusive use of it. Or, the fund gives you a loan of cash to spend on what you want (and, a loan isn't classed as income so it isn't taxed), a loan that you never intend to repay.

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Dark Knight

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Dark Knight:
They are the system.

How are you not getting this?

WE are the system for fuck's sake.

How are you not getting the point that whinging about the queen doesn't fix shit? Whinging about any individual tends to serve as a pressure relief valve which would not be bad except that nothing else is done until the next, "OMG, did you hear? So-and-so is avoiding taxes!" OUTRAGE Outrage outrage outr...snore
Rinse and repeat.

Good grief. This is what false consciousness looks like in the twenty-first century.

I would hope I don't have to explain that we are not actually the system here, that the polis has actually been emptied of its efficacy by the powerful, who manipulate the laws to maintain their own position, forcing the rest of us to carry the welfare state and them. Or that "whinging about it" as you put it is actually about waking people like you up to these facts.

But maybe I do.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Dark Knight:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Dark Knight:
They are the system.

How are you not getting this?

WE are the system for fuck's sake.

How are you not getting the point that whinging about the queen doesn't fix shit? Whinging about any individual tends to serve as a pressure relief valve which would not be bad except that nothing else is done until the next, "OMG, did you hear? So-and-so is avoiding taxes!" OUTRAGE Outrage outrage outr...snore
Rinse and repeat.

Good grief. This is what false consciousness looks like in the twenty-first century.

I would hope I don't have to explain that we are not actually the system here, that the polis has actually been emptied of its efficacy by the powerful, who manipulate the laws to maintain their own position, forcing the rest of us to carry the welfare state and them. Or that "whinging about it" as you put it is actually about waking people like you up to these facts.

But maybe I do.

If you statement is accurate, then it is time for revolution.
However, it is not as dire as you contend. Or shouldn't be. Given that many of the people who are not fatalistic lack the stamina, it might be too late in a practical sense. But it is still technically possible to alter the balance.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Question: how much is actually lost to the Exchequer through these schemes?

Because if the point of investing in offshore companies in Bermuda is to increase your returns (because the company pays less corporation tax in Bermuda and therefore has lower overheads) - then surely you will end up paying more tax (as an absolute figure if not as a rate) on your income from investment, simply because your income from investment is higher?

The sort of scheme being shown on Panorama earlier meant that your investment never came to you as income to be taxed. You create a fund in some zero (or very low) tax country, and have all your earnings paid into it. That fund then buys things which you, as an advisor, deem suitable - a nice house, car, boat etc which is then owned by the fund, which grants you exclusive use of it. Or, the fund gives you a loan of cash to spend on what you want (and, a loan isn't classed as income so it isn't taxed), a loan that you never intend to repay.
Most of those things are taxable benefits in kind though.

Of course if they're being given to you by a trust in a secretive offshore domain, then you might not pay tax on them because HMRC never finds out about them, but then we're talking about breaking the law rather than finding loopholes in it.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Most of those things are taxable benefits in kind though.

So you rent/lease some of them using the loan you took out from the other trust. Private planes are often owned by a leasing company with an offshore owner - with the beneficiaries 'leasing' them. As written up in this article the VAT on these planes can be avoided via other means:

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/06/isle-of-man-refunds-super-rich-private-jets-paradise-papers

Usually, people only get caught when they get greedy and they aren't even willing to keep up a pretence of getting an income/return/benefit. Though with section of HMRC dealing with high net worth individuals being cut perhaps this isn't as hard as it once was.

You'll notice that the firms haven't attempted to launch any sort of legal action over theft of data. The businesses are in locations without treaties of this sort with the rest of the world - which is part of what enables them to operate as tax havens.

[ 07. November 2017, 07:24: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Question: how much is actually lost to the Exchequer through these schemes?

Because if the point of investing in offshore companies in Bermuda is to increase your returns (because the company pays less corporation tax in Bermuda and therefore has lower overheads) - then surely you will end up paying more tax (as an absolute figure if not as a rate) on your income from investment, simply because your income from investment is higher?

So say Ricardus Investments (Bermuda) LLP has an ROI that is 20% better than Ricardus Investments (UK) LLP, because the latter pays corporation tax and the former doesn't. But then my investment income will be 20% higher by investing in the Bermudan version - and so the tax on investment income I pay will be 20% higher as well.

The companies are wheels within wheels, one anonymous company owned by another in a different jurisdiction.

If the money is earned in a different jurisdiction, you don't pay tax on it in the UK - and if you're a non-dom you don't pay tax on anything ever.

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Barnabas62
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How about compound interest, otherwise known as usury? There is a substantial moral argument to be made against that, reaching back into biblical principles. Yet in general the world's financial system is based on the application of compound interest to all loans and debts. In an era of very low interest rates, that is a less financially onerous burden than in the past. Unless you happen to be one of those unfortunate souls who has fallen into the hands of the iniquitous short term lenders who charge exhorbitant interest to those who have little option but to use them. These services are advertised, every day, on UK TV, as solutions to short term cash flow problems. I get pretty irate about them.

So far as tax avoidance (as opposed to tax evasion) is concerned, the problem is caused by the tax laws themselves. I avoid paying tax and also recover tax I do pay through payroll giving and gift aided giving. We've got some savings but we're way short of the tax threshold for interest earned.

But my financial prudence is small beer compared with the large scale tax avoidances being reported now. I think we should avoid the politics of envy and go for reform of the tax laws which legitimise such large scale avoidance. And also recognise that it is an international problem. The global financial market is pretty hard to control without international co-operation.

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Alan Cresswell

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All governments use taxation to encourage behaviour in pursuit of policy aims. Things like ISAs to encourage saving, Gift Aid to encourage charitable giving, conversely something like tobacco duty to discourage smoking. I can't think of anyone who has issue with tax avoidance by quitting smoking. There doesn't appear to be any obvious policy reason, any obvious benefit to the nation, in the sort of tax avoidance schemes revealed recently. At least, benefit to the UK (there would probably be benefit to Bermuda and other nations to have a lot of money in their banks).

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andras
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I'm rather bemused by Apple's claim that their new tax arrangements haven't resulted in them paying less tax than they did before.

Surely the real point here is that if they hadn't engaged in these (apparently perfectly legal) manoeuvres, then they'd be paying a whole lot more?

Talk about trying to pull the wool over the public's eyes!

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