Thursday, April 7, 2011

Unreliable evidence: A high level Radio 4 discussion about tax avoidance

The Radio 4 programme, Unreliable Evidence, hosted by Clive Anderson, last night contained an informed and fascinating discussion about tax avoidance - the way in which people and companies make arrangements within the law to keep their tax bills low.

The first 25 minutes of the programme addressed a number of issues and misconceptions about corporate tax avoidance and also touched on the question of non-doms.

The guests were all senior, informed and credible tax experts - focused on looking at things from a strict legal perspective.
I recommend you listen to this on BBC iplayer if you have an interest in such matters. It was quite refreshing to hear such an informed discussion on the radio. Free of rhetoric it was illuminating. All of the speakers seemed to be adamant about the supremacy of the rule of law. They say there is no room for interpreting the 'will of Parliament' other than through a legal interpretation of the letter of the law.

Anyone hoping for some recognition that there is a difference between acceptable and unacceptable tax avoidance would have been disappointed by this first half of the programme. BUT, the second half was a revelation as regards the likelihood of us having a General Anti-Avoidance Rule in the near future. I'll be writing about this in a separate blog post.

What did you think of the first part of the programme? Please let me know in the comments box below.

1 comment:

  1. In Mr Aaronson's opening remarks he says that Uncut "touches of paranoia" because the issue of taxing the rich is so complex and that most rich people are looking to pay a fair amount.

    It never even occurred to me that uncut are targeting those people anyway, just the ones that are aggressively avoiding tax.

    Therefore to me, Mr Aaronson's impartiality was in question within the first 5 minutes.