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Pandora Papers ! .

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On 16/10/2021 at 13:16, Anna B said:

Yes, 'why is it legal?' is a much better question.

 

I once had a discussion on here about a legal situation which was quite obviously unjust.

The poster (a legal person) responded with 'the law is the law, it has nothing to do with justice.' I was fairly outraged at the time but the longer I live the more I can see what he meant. 

 

I would add that the law, it seems,  has nothing to do with morals either. 

Sad, disgraceful state of affairs even, but still true.

…sounds a bit like me, that 🤔😉

 

Whilst ‘the law’ itself is not justice, its application to a set of circumstances can be seen as ‘justice’.
 

In that respect, ‘the law’ has everything to do with ‘morals’: the law effectively codifies what society at large deems to be moral for the prevalent times.
 

And since what society deems to be ‘moral’ slowly changes over time, so does the law. See e.g. the repealing of statutes criminalising homosexuality, and more recently statutes giving recognition to same-sex marriage. Many more, ever more obscure examples of that principle.

 

That legal evolution happens with some -or a lot- of lagging, depending on the legislating system in place, political angles in play, interference, etc.

 

In the UK, the only people who can change the law are  MPs. Sorry, were MPs, since the last and current governments gave themselves direct rule prerogatives (some 576 new decree laws issued in the last couple of years, I think I read somewhere recently). Raab heading the MoJ should terrify you 😬
 

So currently, ‘the law’ is changing very fast in many small aspects, according to the “firefighting” political imperatives of the Cabinet this week then that week, with little oversight or input from the HoC and HoL.
 

Next year, or come 2024, or (…) it may resume normal pace of evolution, with a normal legislating process (MPs informed by constituents, lobbyists, etc. proposing drafts, HoC debating, HoL reviewing, HoC voting).

 

What the Pandora Papers show, which the Panama and Luxembourg papers showed before, is that a concerted coordination of national tax laws remains extremely difficult (since taxation is a sovereign prerogative, and states compete fiscally with each other), and that wealthy people (well, their tax advisors) are very adept at exploiting this enduring absence of international coordination.
 

It is happening, mind. There are ever less tax havens about, and tax advisors are having to invent ever more expensive/risky/conceited schemes to keep their clients’ wealth untaxed. It’s just very, very slow, and big wealth buys a lot of (positive-) change-impeding influence. Brexit is one such example, for certain wealthy backers of Vote Leave frightened by the 2016 EU anti-tax avoidance directive entering into force on 01 Jan 2019.

Edited by L00b

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On 16/10/2021 at 20:42, Staunton said:

Tax laws have been deregulated

Whoop, whoop, whoop! Oxymoron alert.

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Interesting poll results for the Tory supporters claiming "if it's legal it's OK" - Almost all Tory voters agree company tax avoidance morally wrong, poll finds:

Quote

Among Conservative voters in the 2019 general election, 90% agreed that tax avoidance by large companies was “morally wrong even if legal”, the poll found.

That was higher than the figure for Labour voters, 85% of whom agreed. Support for the statement that tax avoidance by individuals is “morally wrong even if legal” was 87% among Conservative voters, 80% of Labour voters, and 81% of the public overall.

It's particularly surprising that more Tory voters object to it than Labour voters.

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On 18/10/2021 at 17:29, Jeffrey Shaw said:

"evade their legal responsibilities"?

No, Read that word as "Avoid".

Rather than witter about 'tax abuse', focus on tax evasion.

If everyone did pay all tax lawfully demanded and properly payable, without evasion, the rest of us would pay far less tax.

This applies to just about every tax levied in the UK.

All tax abuse is unacceptable, whether it's called evasion or avoidance. However, this is in fact a bogus distinction. Whilst the billionaires and corporates have the bent accountancy firms arranging their tax abuse and working inside HMRC to rig the system, no one is helping the little people to cheat, and the small traders trying to scrape a few extra quid out of their labours in the informal economy are the only ones criminalised.

 

And rightly so, if it were fair, but it clearly isn't. Steal a little and they throw the book at you, steal a lot and you can fly to space. Off shore is now off world, for the big tax cheats.

 

But this sneering distinction is important, because it reveals just how important taxes really are to the neoliberal project - the taxes we ordinary people pay, us 'little people' that is. It's what funds what little there is left of our public services, and I'm sure we none of us need reminding who are increasingly contracted to deliver those services. That's right, those very tax abusing corporates who don't trouble to pay taxes themselves. Indeed, every individual and company making a profit or enjoying an income in the UK should be pay all tax lawfully demanded and properly payable.

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This fell out of news quick didnt it…..

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1 hour ago, Staunton said:

All tax abuse is unacceptable, whether it's called evasion or avoidance. However, this is in fact a bogus distinction. Whilst the billionaires and corporates have the bent accountancy firms arranging their tax abuse and working inside HMRC to rig the system, no one is helping the little people to cheat, and the small traders trying to scrape a few extra quid out of their labours in the informal economy are the only ones criminalised.

 

And rightly so, if it were fair, but it clearly isn't. Steal a little and they throw the book at you, steal a lot and you can fly to space. Off shore is now off world, for the big tax cheats.

 

But this sneering distinction is important, because it reveals just how important taxes really are to the neoliberal project - the taxes we ordinary people pay, us 'little people' that is. It's what funds what little there is left of our public services, and I'm sure we none of us need reminding who are increasingly contracted to deliver those services. That's right, those very tax abusing corporates who don't trouble to pay taxes themselves. Indeed, every individual and company making a profit or enjoying an income in the UK should be pay all tax lawfully demanded and properly payable.

Well said.

 

10 minutes ago, makapaka said:

This fell out of news quick didnt it…..

Yup, until the next time (which  you can bet their will be.) Nothing is ever done. These people own the governmments of the world... 

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Why does this matter? What are the consequences of tax abuse? Why are the Panama Papers, like the series of previous exposés, so important? Well it is foundational to the neoliberal project to accumulate wealth in the pockets of the already rich and privileged. These few, still not satisfied with their riches, have been equipped with the means to pervert the system and enrich themselves even further. And that wealth, enjoyed by the one per cent and their hangers on, simultaneously drains resources (that's money) from local communities everywhere. It has a real impact on the lives of ordinary people, people like most of us here in Sheffield.


Even if we are managing, our children won't, as the low wage economy is increasingly established, and now that tax abuse is firmly embedded. And once people are shunted into a low-wage existence, they cannot afford to buy a house. Enter the landlords, enjoying unearned wealth (in fact that wealth is earned by others, of course, their tenants, who must labour day and night to pay the rent, to enrich the rentiers) and using that wealth to buy yet more property to add to their portfolio and fill their pockets with ever more unearned income. And the tax abusers recycle some of their stolen money into the funding of compliant political parties, as the Pandora Papers reveal, parties wholly hostile to the needs of ordinary people (as I demonstrated earlier in this thread with reference to the Imperial College study on life expectancy). And the tax abusers are also financing the neoliberal think tanks and lobbyists that champion the Mont Pelerin doctrine of neoliberalism.


When businesses abuse the tax system, and when they exploit and underpay their employees, these neoliberal scandals drain localities like Sheffield of the funds required to provide vital services and allow communities to flourish.


As I explained in my very first posts here on Sheffield forum more than ten years ago, tax abuse is an integral component of the neoliberal project. That project is destroying the world, and these facts are now clear for anyone to see, if they choose to look.

Edited by Staunton
Typo correction.

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