Discussion in 'Serious' started by StingLikeABee, 12 Apr 2016.
Well put and it ain't going improve ever.
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Strongly disagree. There are people who have great wealth who somehow manage not to be a-holes about it; they give more than their fair share away and don't worship or pursue money like you'd expect, and they are also completely above board where tax is concerned. Believe it or not, some wealthy people are aghast that the system favours the wealthy; they'd rather pay more tax but they cannot.
If I was a millionaire, the chances are I wouldn't be for long because I don't see any need in one person having so much money considering how many people are without. Give me £25K a year so I can provide for my family and educate my kids. Just because most people from a particular group do something doesn't mean everyone should be expected to do it.
Rubbish. That may be true of those whose sole driver in life is the acquisition of wealth, but to assume that every one of us would behave exactly the same way is bollocks.
Well, this is a thread for wide spread, wild, generalisations isn't it? Thought I'd get in on that **** while it's hot.
I call BS - Someone asks the simple question of whether or not you would like to pay less tax, the answer is near universally "yeah, sure". The principle of "Get what I want and screw the other guy" is always going to be pervasive as far as human nature is concerned.
Being tax efficient isn't exclusive to the super-rich. A lower-rate taxpayer writing a letter to inland revenue asking for a £20 refund because they put their numbers in an on line calculator and it said so is being tax efficient. A higher rate taxpayer claiming relief for charitable donations is being tax efficient.
The practical options change and increase along with the wealth and tax exposure but the principle remains the same, we all wouldn't mind paying less tax. Apparently there's some unwritten threshold when it no longer becomes "okay" to be tax efficient.
"loophole" is a BS term to make something that's perfectly within the realms of the law seem skeezy to people who don't know any better. If it's "wrong", it needs to be removed with legislation, not naming and shaming.
Oh, come on. The biggest problem with the "loopholes" is how far into the grey you (or your accountant) is willing to go. The more obscure, the better, and the less likely it is for you (or your accountant) to admit in public.
I'm in favour of simple, direct taxation - kill the loopholes and stealth taxes and put my income tax up. As long as everyone else is subject to the same rules. Which is why it will never happen.
Wealth is no bad thing but, obviously, it opens more doors for you. There's little point in me on £30k a year spending thousands on a tax lawyer who might save me a grand. However, me on £500k could pay the same amount to save £50k. Whether or not the method is ethically, morally or legally acceptable is another matter. Simply covering your ears and eyes does not make you any less complicit in any dodgy dealings undertaken on your behalf.
The grey itself is the problem though - there's no such thing. It's legal, or it's not (let's forget about any ambiguous wording in legislation for the time being, because that's a problem in itself). Whether or not something is morally or ethnically wrong can't be a yardstick by which to measure ones actions because it's by no means absolute.
Simple and direct taxation is a nice dream, but you're right that it will never happen. Within the borders of one country there's hope, but international tax law is a complete mess - it's nigh on impossible to fix, and even more impossible to police it, but it's better now than it's ever been since it's been in the public eye.
I would consider a person morally reprehensible on the grounds of that alone, and I don't even care about cars that much. Just that if anyone is so stupid then I don't believe it's even possible for them to legally acquire this much wealth.
Yes, there is.
Which is exactly the part that we cannot forget.
The grey is an area not specifically covered by a law, making it not currently illegal - your unscrupulous tax lawyer knows this. He also knows it will likely quickly become illegal as soon as the light of day hits it, but he's happy to dance on technicalities because he isn't actually currently breaking the law and he justifies his existence by saving you money, and by not giving a damn about morals. The old "spirit of the law versus letter of the law" chestnut.
Which is why so many 'clebs and rich folk in the public eye get all remorseful and apologetic, once their grey dealings come to light - the court of public opinion can sometimes hurt more than the law.
It's a fair point - and where the issue lies.
I don't know why the accountant is unscrupulous though - whether you judge it as morally wrong or not. As I say, your moral compass isn't the same as mine or anyone else's (and don't misinterpret this as me saying I think the grey areas are just fine) - how is anyone to know what's "okay" and what's "wrong" using any other moral compass than their own, as misguided as you think it might be? The accountant is just doing their job, don't berate the individual just because you don't like their line of work.
The exposure the topic is getting these days can only be good, highlighting areas where there are gaps, but they're not going to be closed off overnight.
IMO the court of public opinion is a vile beast though - uproar is so often misguided, and I can't help but think "wealthy person pays less tax than they could" scenarios so much of the bile is associated with the fact that wealthy person has more than individual, individual wants more of that wealth therefore individual determines that wealthy person is undeserving. A lot of it is legitimate, don't get me wrong, but armchair activism and social media soapboxes are just the worst.
Loopholes are exactly what they purport to be - a way of circumventing something without going through it. In the case of tax loopholes, what's being avoided is paying the same level of tax that everybody else is expected to pay according to their income/turnover/inheritance etc.
When I was freelance I was able to be tax efficient by declaring tax deductible expenses, however nothing to the extent that big corporations manage; then again, they aren't being tax efficient... they're being unethical and screwing the system. Tax serves a purpose, so why are people so damned reulctant to pay it? That pervasive greed you mentioned earlier - that's your answer.
I don't play word games with what tax avoiders do - it's tax avoidance, not tax efficiency. If we were part of a society that had an honourable government and things were structured in such a way that everybody was cared for equally, I don't think people would give two hoots about tax avoidance. The problem is that we have rich people getting richer, and poor people being shat on by budget cuts left right and center. That's your BS right there.
Call for the loophole to be plugged. Greed is so ingrained in the human psyche that I don't see how it's reasonable to expect loopholes and grey areas to not be leveraged. It's never going to be fixed, because that would need everyone singing from the same sheet (and there's probably a risk of driving wealth elsewhere, if too many loopholes are plugged at a local level, which probably ins't great for anyone), but it can get better.
At least with legislation in place there's more to go after them with than tutting and waggling your finger - berating the individuals themselves is IMO waste of breath and not worth getting worked up over.
By your moral compass, sure. But we've been here.
Avoidance, efficiency, whatever - so long as it's not evasion then tomato/tomato (so, that doesn't really work outside of spoken word... )
We can all dream of a different way of the world working, but we're never going to be in an honourable society full stop, government or otherwise, so why get so worked up about it?
I'm probably more nonchalant than most about basically everything ever, so I'm more inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt when they're being crucified by the media and the court of public opinion, but IMO it's not the individuals that need calling out.
Whether you have £sod.all or £billions, one thing you are almost guaranteed to have is a desire for more. What matters is how you go about getting more and whether you treat your fellow humans in a way you would hope they would treat you.
Twofold: one, because I'm at the lower end of the scale (whilst I study) where common people like myself are growing increasingly tired of austerity; and two, because if more people got worked up about it, more would actually be done - the UK is (supposedly) a representative democracy after all. Pipe dreams of an honourable society aside, it's wholly reasonable to hope for better than what we currently have.
Allow me to clear this thread up once and for all
The technology we use for governance is about 2,400 years old. This has been superseded by the multinational. A stateless corporation is unbounded by law. Certainly, it must conform to the law in each jurisdiction, but it can pick and choose where to operate based on laws. It's no coincidence that iPhones are made by people who'd rather die than make iPhones.
These behemoths can make or break a country. Due to their stranglehold on the economy they wield more political power than any individual country's collective set of politicians. If Tim Cook decided to pull Google from the UK tomorrow chaos would ensue. It's not just your search and email, it's the entire cloud infrastructure and the businesses built upon them. Our most influential politician doesn't have anything even approaching that power.
They must be pandered to for political survival. It's all done in a very civilized manner, of course, a little tax break here, a little subsidy there and before you know it these concessions accumulate creating the massively imbalanced system we see today. There may be agency behind it, there may not (it's probably a bit of both) but the result is the same - Extremely permissive tax laws for the rich so they can be more competitive, and lend some of their success to a region - Or so they say...
This has all happened over a generation - Fast enough to catch us off-guard, but slow enough for our definition of normality to be redefined incrementally and almost imperceptibly. This is just business as usual in the modern globalized world. Why would anyone put themselves at a competitive disadvantage in the name of unlegislated morality? There are very, very good reasons and rationalizations within the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism that, well....Greed is Good.
Truthfully we all need to come out of denial and admit that modern democracy belongs in a drawer along with last year's gadget. It's obsolete. If that statement frightens you it's because you know it's true. How do we fix it? The most powerful and entrenched global ideology would require a coordinated global effort to overcome, that means a revolution of some sort, the only thing up to us is how velvety it is when it happens.
^This^ a million, billion times.
Blaming someone for using rules and regulations to their own advantage gets us nowhere, it's the people that made those rules and regulations that should be blamed, in the case of tax laws it probably didn't help that (i heard) those tax laws went from a few hundred pages in a single book to over three times that amount during the Blair years.
The problem with revolutions has historically been that they've taken place within the very system they sought to overthrow, as a result things never changed but on the surface. Hence, meet the new boss same as the old boss.
A recent example of this is Myanmar [Burma], where in the recent elections, a sizeable chunk of those standing for election used to be members of the military and the military proper holds 25% of the seats. Whilst it may technically no longer be a military dictatorship, the military still has a lot of the power.
TL-DR - as you said, 'meet the new boss, he's just like the old one'
Exactly, which is why I'm advocating rethinking the very assumptions of governance and power within the modern context. Throw out Plato, throw out Weber, throw out nations, and throw out all the other Stone-Age solutions to the governance problem. Maybe it will blow up in our faces, but it's A Brave New World after all
But you have to do something. Your approach is just so....eurgh. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.
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