Boris Gets it (nearly), Alexander Doesn’t

“Taxation for big companies, or for anyone in society, can’t be, and mustn’t be, a voluntary arrangement,” said Mr Alexander.

“Thinking of the tax system as if it is like the church plate going around on a Sunday morning is completely the wrong way to think about it.”

He added: “Paying tax is not a voluntary choice, it is not something you can just chose to do willy nilly because you think it will please your customers, it is an obligation.”

Well, if we are going to be drawing analogies, then it is rather more like the two thugs who threaten to smash up your shop if you don’t pay them protection money.

London Mayor Boris Johnson on Sunday defended companies, such as Starbucks, for seeking to minimise the level of tax they paid in the UK.

In an interview on Sky News, he said: “Imagine that you are the corporate finance director of one of these companies.”

“Your job is to look at the law as it stands. Your fiduciary duty to your shareholders is to minimise your tax exposure.”

Precisely. Corporation tax is not paid by companies; it is paid by the shareholders, the partners, owners, employees and customers. Those UK Uncut cretins who think that it is all about “fat cats” seem to forget that it is their pension schemes that are investing in these companies. More tax means less in their pension pot, for example, just as it will mean less profit reinvested into the business, higher prices, fewer people employed and cuts in employee benefits such as paid breaks. But, then, whenever have the sanctimonious, self-righteous socialists ever been concerned about the ordinary worker?

Mr Johnson added that Starbucks should be praised for announcing that going forward it would voluntarily pay UK corporation tax.

“Now that Starbucks has stepped up to the plate and announced they are going to be making this payment I think rather than everybody sneering at them, people should welcome that,” he said.

No, it means that they are fools. Having set the precedent, the beast will merely come back for more –  that’s what happens when you try appeasement.

Tax avoidance is perfectly right and proper. We should all arrange our financial affairs to minimise our exposure to the protection racket that is the ever greedy state. It is not immoral, it is our sacred duty. Starbucks caving in has just made it a little bit more difficult for all of the rest of us.

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6 comments for “Boris Gets it (nearly), Alexander Doesn’t

  1. December 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Boris is playing to the gallery far too much – has the man no spine?

  2. john in cheshire
    December 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I totally agree. If the government (with the acquiescence of us, the people) wish the change the rules of the game, then so be it. But it is not within their devolved powers to use coercion against legitimate organisations. Especially for political expediency.

  3. Chuckles
    December 9, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    A couple of favourite quotes from US Justice Learned Hand –

    Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.
    Gregory v. Helvering, 69 F.2d 809, 810 (2d Cir. 1934)

    Over and over again courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging one’s affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everybody does so, rich or poor; and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands: taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant.
    Commissioner v. Newman, 159 F.2d 848, 851 (2d Cir. 1947) – dissenting opinion

    Envy and spite are another matter entirely

  4. Robert Edwards
    December 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    It seems that the conclusion is being drawn that ‘public pressure’ is responsible for this development.

    How odd. I would have concluded that ‘mob rule’ was more accurate…

  5. Voice of Reason
    December 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    My problem is that too much of the money not paid in taxes appears to wind up with the executives, not the shareholders.

    • bilbaoboy
      December 10, 2012 at 9:19 am

      That is a problem for the shareholders (if it is true).

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