By Tom,

Tax fairness and freedom. Who is paying their fair share?

Tax doesn’t need to be taxing. That’s how the advertising slogan goes. And if you’re Barclays Bank or one of the other multi-billion pound corporations that merrily pays nothing (or next to nothing), it’s true. On the other hand, if you’re a small business owner, freelancer, or good old fashioned wage slave, tax isn’t just taxing, it really hurts.

Barclays Bank may get to decide how much they pay. But most people don’t.

The tax system is a sham. The simple truth is this: the government may make all the right noises, but it doesn’t actually care about how much tax big corporations pay. They know that it’s not companies that pay tax: it’s people – in the form of Income Tax, National Insurance, VAT, et cetera. That’s the kind of tax that sticks like a limpet. So the government claim to be doing something about tax avoidance while really doing nothing. It’s rhetoric that keeps people happy. It wins votes. And it achieves nothing. George Carlin had it right when he said ‘these people don’t give a fuck about you and me’. HMRC collects billions from ordinary people every year. You think “clamping down” on corporate tax avoiders is going to make a difference?

Poor people pay tax. Rich people – and big companies – don’t.

It’s ironic, but the more money you have, the easier it is to avoid paying tax. So it’s little wonder huge corporations pay nothing. Capital is mobile in a globalised society. If you tax it, it just moves elsewhere. So governments don’t bother taxing it as it generates the kind of economic activity – wages and consumer spending – that they can tax. And that’s how the system works. The primary underlying effect of the tax system is to transfer assets from the poor and powerless to the rich and powerful. If you look beneath the surface, not a lot has changed since the days of the Roman Empire when most people were serfs. Now we’re “wage slaves” instead. The vast majority of the population are as powerless as they were in Roman times. Tax “avoidance” or more correctly “evasion” are central to the process – letting some people get away with murder, while the rest of us are taxed to death.

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