It seems that most people either confuse consequence with a reason or do not really care about the difference as long as they have a chance to vent their frustration.
It is unknown if they are aware that venting in the wrong direction isn’t going to solve the problem. Instead, it could stimulate the problem to grow bigger.
The following is one of many examples
“SHAME ON COMPANIES OR INDIVIDUALS WHO AVOID PAYING TAXES.”
Unlike tax evasion, tax avoidance is not a crime. It is legally exploiting the tax system to reduce current or future tax liabilities.
Tax evasion, on the other hand, is the illegal practice of not paying taxes, by not reporting income, reporting expenses not legally allowed, or by not paying taxes owed.
Global companies such as Google, Amazon and Starbucks have come under heavy criticism for avoiding paying tax on their British sales.
In may 2013, BBC published Article named “Google, Amazon, Starbucks: The rise of ‘tax shaming'” by By Vanessa Barford & Gerry Holt with brief but very clear analysis.
It is all started in September 2009 when the Observer ran with the headline: “Avoiding tax robs our public services, declares minister” whereby the paper reported that the government was planning to say a tax is a “moral issue” and that it was “determined to end avoidance and evasion.”
I believe my conclusion is logical because should these companies would not pay their fair share of tax, it wouldn’t have been called “tax avoidance”. Instead, it could’ve been qualified as “tax evasion” triggering absolutely different consequences.
Instead of lynching the wrong party, British public should’ve turned its frustration towards the government of the United Kingdom. Because it is the government which has the power to draft and implement laws.
Companies do not come up with their own rules. Companies shall conform with the laws that the particular government (in this case the UK) requires business entities to comply with.
There is another element which neither angry British people nor politicians of the UK failed to consider.
If the legislation allows certain types of operations allowing companies to improve their financial health and the top management of any company would decide not to use that legitimate avenue to maximize profit because of some moral norms, it is highly possible that the entire top management team could lose their job in a blink of an eye. And possibly, shortly thereafter, the fresh ex-members of the top management could realize that no other company will employ them ever.
Therefore, it is essential for people to understand one thing. If they believe that they can demand, first, they should carefully study the subject of their demand to avoid a possibility of being embarrassed for barking up the wrong tree.
As to the statement of Stephen Timms, former financial secretary, regarding paying tax being “moral issue”, there is only one word to describe it – NONSENSE.
Paying tax is not a choice. Therefore it doesn’t fit the definition of “moral”. The issue of tax belongs to the legal sphere. And for the avoidance of confusion, it shall remain their forever.
The reason I mentioned confusion is that Mr Timms is already confused just by trying to carve out the issue of tax from the legal area and place it next to moral values.
Before taxation migrates from legal to the moral zone, six events are required to take place:
A. The day when Hell freezes over;
B. Tony Blair stands trial in Hague for lying to the British public and the entire international community on Iraq’s possession of WMD and committed crimes against humanity by aiding George W. Bush and actively participating in initiating illegal war in Iraq in 2003.
As a result of this illegal war, hundreds of thousands of lives were terminated for no good reason. Millions of people were displaced. The war triggered a process of destabilization of the entire region and caused the biggest, as it is called, refugees crisis in modern history.
The war is also responsible for a sharp increase of terrorist activities as a response to the terrorist act committed by the British government.
Unfortunately, the ones who are killed by terrorists are innocent people worldwide. These victims had nothing to do with the biggest terrorist act in the entire history of human race committed by the US and the UK governments. And even today, fourteen years later, many civilians in Iraq, the Middle East and the whole world continue to suffer consequences of this despicable crime.
C. British government ceases funding the Royal family immediately and channels freed funds in the right direction – needs of society;
D. With immediate effect, British Royals are subject to financial disclosure and any other related disclosures without limitation whatsoever;
E. As any other private citizen in the U.K., all income of the Royals shall be subject to taxation because to pay their fair share of tax is in line with “values of responsibility” and belongs to the category of “moral issues”.
F. To adhere to “moral values”, the British government shall display 100% transparency and welcome with open arms the EU investigation into a British government scheme that may help multinational firms pay less tax.
The Guardian wrote that shell companies with anonymous shareholders and directors are a key feature of the Paradise Papers and its predecessors the Panama Papers, Luxembourg Leaks and HSBC Leaks. Yet the government refuses to take effective action at home or abroad. Last month the government said it would not “prohibit nominee shareholdings”, a key mechanism for concealing the identity of the ultimate owners, controllers and beneficiaries of tax games.
In my opinion, the latest story about tax avoidance sheds the light on who is really guilty of creating problems for ordinary citizens and turning their lives into constant and painful frustration.
It doesn’t leave any doubt that representatives of any government, and especially the government of the UK, shouldn’t talk about moral values ever.
Vanessa Barford and Gerry Holt from BBC asked a legitimate question: what is an impact of growing culture of naming and shaming companies?
People should assume responsibility for their actions before they would have a moral right to demand anything from others. People should be clear that their actions may negatively impact other people’s lives.
Due to lack of knowledge and, therefore, clarity, people’s active participation in the process of public shaming of and boycotting business of the wrong party resulted in loss of jobs
As the result of unfair blaming, shaming and boycotting, the turnover of the Starbucks’ main UK subsidiary fell in the year to the end of September 2013 to 399 million pounds from 413 million pounds the previous year. Naturally, closure of a number of shops followed and as a result, many people lost their jobs.