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Tax loophole closes, but not one of the big holes

November 9th, 2011 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · No Comments · Politics

Typical isn’t it? The government finally get round to closing a tax loophole, like we all want, but it turns out to be the one tax loophole that most of us have probably used – the low value consignment relief that means CD, DVDs and other things ordered from Amazon, Play and other online traders ship from the Channel Islands and don’t attract VAT.

I think we had in mind the billions of revenue the country loses from profits diverted to tax havens, non-domiciles not paying income tax, all the cash hidden in Swiss bank accounts, and other assorted tax dodges rather than the estimated £140m lost to LVCR. Strictly speaking it is a loophole and therefore not a good thing, but many people who benefit from it don’t even realise that the reason they are getting a bargain is because they are not paying VAT. I don’t think many people set up a subsidiary in the Caymans or shove the odd few million into a Swiss bank do it blindly.

I guess the argument is that it is what business jargon these days calls ‘low-hanging fruit’ but if you follow that analogy it is unripe fruit with little nutritious value that is being picked while the plump juicy stuff stays on the tree. In equally modern terms, the government is closing the tiny tax loophole used by the 99% while leaving the huge gaping loopholes used by the 1% wide open for their friends and sponsors.


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