This week’s blogs: tax havens are the new terrorism

Brown is on the warpath. He asked Congress, how much safer would people’s
savings be ‘if the whole world finally came together to outlaw shadow banking
systems and offshore tax havens’. Obama is, too, viz, the ‘Stop Tax Haven Abuse
Act’ – which is currently a bill (and don’t forget that this wouldn’t be the
first time that America went to war over tax matters!).

So – they’re happy to slag off the ‘shadow’ banking systems, while in fact
it’s the banking systems that operated in the full glare of publicity that seem
to be falling to pieces.

Be that as it may, expect the agenda to shift from fighting against ‘the axis
of evil’ to ‘the taxes of evil’ – and remember you first heard that phrase here!

Andrew Sawers, editor, Financial Director.

HMRC have created a specific ‘charter consultation’ area of their website and
last week they launched ‘Charterpelago’ which is ‘a new consultation game’ aimed
specifically at a ‘younger audience’.

In the context of their involvement with the ‘youth engagement tool’ Delib’s
own blog asks: ‘is there anyone who isn’t affected by the work of HMRC?’ – er,

I’m unclear at which age group the Charterpelago is aimed. It looks like a
kids game and it involves clicking and draging sentences from the draft charter
onto a virtual PDA. This is after choosing the look of your PDA. Finally the
‘young people’ choose in which order they would like to see the statements.

Let me be clear. I’m all for teaching younger people more about their
responsibilities to pay tax and the various roles that HMRC fulfils. But this
e-consultation is a joke. And I’m not blaming Delib. I’m not sure I even blame
HMRC – it was probably government advisers that came up with the idea.

Mark Lee, chairman of the Tax Advice Network

With businesses like MFI and Woolworths going to the wall, we should dig
deeper to understand why this is happening. On the one hand it is because the
banks/credit insurers cancelled agreements, but on the other hand suppliers
wouldn’t trust major businesses to pay them after the run up to Christmas. So
greed and fear won the day ­ and the suppliers haven’t been paid! I have no
sympathy for the banks and suppliers who have forced these closures, a
self-fulfilling prophecy!! Might it be their turn next?

Patricia Wheatley Burt, principal consultant,

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