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‘Clever accountants help the super rich dodge tax’ says a BBC investigation

Member: Nifa

A BBC investigation has alleged that ‘technical wizardry by clever accountants’ is helping the super rich to dodge tax.

The investigation by Radio 4 consumer programme ‘You and Yours’ centred on a call by Prime Minister David Cameron for HM Revenue and Customs to get tough with rich people and companies who employ, in his words, fancy lawyers to avoid paying tax. 

Official figures reportedly show that lawyers acting in this way saved their clients an estimated two hundred billion pounds in tax last year – a sum which if collected, says the programme, would go some way to sharing the burden of present economic woe, a move that is believed would have widespread Government support. 

The programme investigated such questions as the specific practices that David Cameron was talking about? and if identified, what are the chances of clawing money from people and businesses that operate on a global level and who don’t want to pay it? Is the Prime Minister grandstanding or does he mean business? 

Programme makers called for listeners’ ideas for making the tax system more equitable, asking such questions as: are there any specific loopholes that could and should be closed? do listeners believe that it is the citizen’s duty to hold onto as much of their own money as possible? is the individual best placed to decide how to spend their money? is the technical wizardry by ‘clever’ accountants on behalf of their clients a vital part of a democratic political system which reminds the state that it serves the people and not the other way around? or perhaps listeners believed that business is only able to thrive in this country because of the social and political investment over centuries that have been paid for by the tax system?

It questioned whether it might be the fault of government in the first place for making the tax system so complex, arguing that a simpler, slimmer code would close down the opportunities to slip between growing volumes of tax laws.

The programme also included a contribution from a philosopher on the moral argument for tax.

If you want to join in the NIFA News debate on tax, you can contact the newsroom by emailing:

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