IT'S TOO CLOSE TO CALL as the first day draws to a close on Accountancy Age's first online debate.
At the time of writing, both protagonists have garnered 50% of the vote.
The debate is looking at the heart of the matter: What is tax avoidance, and where is the line drawn between legitimate tax planning and unreasonable, unfair strategies that starve the government's coffers?
Tax Justice Network founder Richard Murphy stoutly defended the motion that "tax avoidance is an unacceptable exploitation of the tax system", while BDO tax partner Stephen Herring ably argued the situation is more nuanced than that.
Murphy suggested tax avoidance is "about exploiting loopholes within and between laws in the UK and elsewhere to get a benefit parliament did not intend", while Herring's opening gambit held that "it is a more achievable task to define what is abusive than to define what amounts to tax avoidance in contrast to acceptable tax planning".
As expected, there was lively discussion of the issues, with one reader pointing out that "the law defines what is illegal. If the law doesn't define something as illegal, it is legal. That's the way common law in the UK works." Meanwhile, another noted the moral element of the debate is "meaningless without an objective test".
The debate runs until Friday 18 January. The whole debate will remain archived on the site to view. Click here to visit the debate website.
How can it be OK for tax payers (the ones of us that can't or don't avoid taxes!) to fund endless thousands of legal cases to decide what is legal or not. We know a General Anti avoidance principle would help stop that. Byut how is legistalation decided? By people with the money, companies vested interests... (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmtreasy/memo/taxpolicy/m46.htm). How did they get so much money? Tax avidance helped! Its a cycle of corruption.
Posted by: Gail Bradbrook, 16 Jan 2013 | 12:27
You may also like
If budgeting is to have any value at all, it needs a radical overhaul. In today's dynamic marketplace, budgeting can no longer serve as a company's only management system; it must integrate with and support dedicated strategy management systems, process improvement systems, and the like. In this paper, Professor Peter Horvath and Dr Ralf Sauter present what's wrong with the current approach to budgeting and how to fix it.
In this white paper CCH provide checklists to help accountants and finance professionals both in practice and in business examine these issues and make plans. Also includes a case study of a large commercial organisation working through the first year of mandatory iXBRL filing.