Archive for Tax Evation

Time To Make Tax Dodging Illegal

Posted in America, Britain, England, Equality, European Union, Justice, News, Parliament, Politics, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 09/02/2015 by floroy1942

You and I have to pay our taxes whether we like it or not, and if we don’t the system comes down on us hard, so how is it that the super rich are allowed to dodge paying their rightful share? The world is littered with so-called ‘Tax Havens’ where the rich stash away trillions on which they do not have to pay any tax. This just doesn’t seem right to me.

HSBCIt came out today that the HSBC bank has been actively helping clients including international criminals, corrupt businessmen, politicians and celebrities, to hide hundreds of millions of pounds in secret  off-shore accounts.

It appears that a whistle-blower gave information on 106,000 clients in 203 countries which included almost 7,000 clients from the United Kingdom. Many of the UK account holders have not declared these accounts to the tax authorities.

The bank is said to be cooperating with an investigation by the authorities in the US, France, Belgium and Argentina, but the staggering thing is, no action has so far been taken in Britain! This I find unbelievable.

Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood Shabana Mahmood.

Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood Shabana Mahmood.

In the House of Commons Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood Shabana Mahmood said, “We need to understand whether actually HMRC have been putting lots of cases before the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and it’s the CPS who’ve been refusing to prosecute and those are questions that I hope that the government will answer.” That is a question I would like to know the answer to also.

Although the HMRC received this information in 2010 they have identified 1,100 people, but five years on only one has been prosecuted. Switzerland is one tax haven and so far  £135m in tax, interest and penalties have now been paid by those who hid their assets there.

While it is not illegal to avoid taxes and have off-shore accounts, deliberately hiding money to avoid taxes is. So how do these people get away with it? It is clear that without the cooperation of the banks it would not be possible.

It has been revealed that HSBC not only turned a blind eye to these tax evaders, but even gave one client an international credit card so he could withdraw money from these accounts anywhere in the world. The bank also actively assisted clients to stay one step ahead of the law.

When the information was first leaked the leader of HSBC was Stephen Green who shortly afterwards became a Conservative peer and was appointed to the government. He served as a minister of trade and investment until 2013. When asked about the affair Treasury minister David Gauke defended Lord Green’s appointment saying, “I am not aware of any evidence that suggests that Lord Green was involved in this sort of activity.”

Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge

Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge

But the chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge said,  “Either he didn’t know and he was asleep at the wheel, or he did know and he was therefore involved in dodgy tax practices. Either way he was the man in charge and I think he has got really important questions to answer.” It looks to me as if an investigation is called for, and if found guilty he should be stripped of all titles and go to prison.

If all these tax dodgers paid their dues I am sure you could imagine how this would help economies that are currently in trouble. If all these people paid what they owed the amounts gathered would run into many trillions world-wide. But it is the same old story, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer! To my mind it is up to the authorities to come down hard on these people.

Tax Havens

Tax Havens

It would be to everyone’s advantage for the whole idea of tax havens to be scrapped so this sort of thing would not be possible. All tax havens should be made illegal, and anyone who goes down this path should be prosecuted. Why should the super rich be able to hide their money from the tax man while the man in the street cannot.

So far as the banks like HSBC are concerned, they too should be made to pay a penalty for their illegal activities and an investigation launched to root out those in management who are involved in this practice. When they are found they should be prosecuted and given a prison sentence before being banned from ever working in the financial sector again. Only by taking such tough measures will this tax avoidance scheme be stopped.

I fully realize that it is alright to say this, but both you and I know that it will never happen because these people have a way of covering for each other. In the meantime the lessor people will continue to pay!

Roy.

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