Sir Philip Green: tax avoider gets job on the side


by Dave Osler    
2:02 pm - August 20th 2010

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Put the firm in the name of the missus, set the old girl up with a nice little gaff down in Monaco, and then pay her a dividend of well over a billion quid. Tell the taxman to go swivel.

That’s essentially what Sir Philip Green did in 2005, so ensuring that not a single one of those 1,200,000,000 spons got unnecessarily spent on schools and hospitals and that sort of stuff. All 100% legit, natch.

The thing is, the Topshop boss has got an expensive lifestyle to maintain. Not only does he have to find the upkeep of the standard super-rich trimmings, like a £20m superyacht and a £27m private jet, but he has actually got a solid gold monopoly set. Pure class, that geezer.

And say what you like about Phil, he does know how to throw a good bash. We are talking about a bloke who spent £5m celebrating his 50th birthday with a three-day Roman toga party, with guests including Michael Winner, Jeremy Beadle and Stirling Moss. Both Tom Jones and Demis Roussos were hired to put on a turn.

Obviously such credentials leave the boy ideally placed to advise on ways and means of instituting austerity. Cameron has just appointed him to the role of public spending tsar, so that he can lead a crackdown on all those idlers larging it up on the public purse.

Meanwhile, as the Tories and the Liberal Democrats dream up fiendish new ways of cheese paring winter fuel payments to old biddies – many of them unable to afford a second home in Monaco for the wife – the Financial Times this morning leads on page one with the headline ‘Tax office to soften stance on avoidance’.

Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary of tax at Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, laments that his outfit have been too tough on companies in disputes over tax assessments.

“HMRC is packed full of very intelligent people but we are sometimes too black and white about the law,” he told the Financial Times.

Let me run that past you again, slowly. Too black and white about the law? There was me thinking that the law says what it says, and that people have to stick to it or get busted. But no, it’s open to interpretation. If you are a wealthy company trying to avoid tax, that is.

Maybe such a line of reasoning is worth a try if you get hauled in for benefit fraud in the coming clampdown. Then again, maybe not.

The reality is that in Britain today, taxation for big businesses is basically optional, and the government job handed to Sir Philip symbolises and celebrates that state of affairs absolutely perfectly. Nothing like rubbing everybody’s nose in it, is there?

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About the author
Dave Osler is a regular contributor. He is a British journalist and author, ex-punk and ex-Trot. Also at: Dave's Part
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Reader comments


There was me thinking that the law says what it says, and that people have to stick to it or get busted.

I have to politely point out that this is roughly equivalent to:-

“This philosophy lark? Reality’s what it is, and that’s all there is to it, amiright? Don’t know what the buggers do all day.”

Using a personal example, I spent a large chunk of last year in discussions with the Revenue about what exactly constituted a ‘regular pattern of late-night working’ in connection with whether an employee taking a taxi home late at night was a taxable benefit or not.

Most tax disputes are of this type, in my experience [1] – the grey areas that unavoidably occur when you try to file a complex situation into one of a set of classification buckets.

The FT article is slightly misleading, BTW. The Litigation Strategy referred to in it was a statement by HMRC that in cases where there was a clear-cut legal principle at stake in a dispute, rather than one where the situation was one of haggling over the price[2], they’d refuse to settle on any terms but their own before going to litigation. Ambitious, but prone to cause an enormous amount of legal costs in relation to the returns received. And so it’s turned out.

It all depends on how strongly HMRC pushes in the compromise negotiations. Historically, it used to start off at 50:50, but let’s see how it works in practice.

[1] Setting aside tax avoidance schemes, which have their own rituals and routines.

[2] e.g. ‘Is an appropriate management charge markup 5% or 6%?’ The Vodafone dispute mentioned in the article, with ISTR related to transfer pricing/thin capitalisation, would very much fall into this camp.

Of course, the above has nothing to do with the fact that Philip Green is a dreadful choice for the post he’s been appointed to.

Let me run that past you again, slowly. Too black and white about the law? There was me thinking that the law says what it says, and that people have to stick to it or get busted. But no, it’s open to interpretation.

Of course tax law is open to interpretation. Have you ever read any legislation? Have you never heard of any tax cases? Black letter law cannot, ever, cover every possible permutation of facts and events; case law can only ever provide a partial, analagous guide. As a result a lot of time, money and effort is spent by people trying to interpret precisely what the law means in specific sets of circumstances.

Maybe, if we think very hard, we could think of a name for these people. Lawyers maybe.

Someone who follows the law when it concerns their tax affairs, which is exactly what Philip Green has done, is NOT a tax avoider. They’re just good at looking after their money. My accountant advised me on a number of ways to cut our tax bill this year by half. Of course, we are talking a four-figure sum, not millions, but does that make me a tax-avoider? Why shouldn’t I do whatever I can within the law, seeing as the law is what controls the tax I (or Philip Green, or anyone else) pay?

If this sort of thing was such a problem, why did Labour not do anything about it for the last thirteen years? Lord Paul, Lakshmi Mittal, and Ronald Cohen anyone?

My accountant advised me on a number of ways to cut our tax bill this year by half. Of course, we are talking a four-figure sum, not millions, but does that make me a tax-avoider?

Well, yes it does make you a tax-avoider, in that you avoided paying tax that you were not legally obliged to. Just about everyone does it to some extent.

Well established difference between ‘avoider’ and ‘evader’. Sir Philip is a tax avoider, which it is not unlawful to be.

7. Tired Old Trot

Never mind the insubstantiality, feel the rage, GEEZER!!

All this rage against Green seems a bit odd to me. He hasn’t done anything illegal in arranging his taxation and he is offering his services for free.

Wait and see what he comes up with, maybe then you’ll have something to get annoyed about.

@ian

“Someone who follows the law when it concerns their tax affairs, which is exactly what Philip Green has done, is NOT a tax avoider. They’re just good at looking after their money”

Wrong. They are not a tax evader, but are a tax avoider entirely legally taking advantage of loopholes in tax law to go against the spirit of the legislation.

10. gastro george

Don’t the US tax all income in their country, no matter the nationality of the beneficiary? And they tax the world income of their nationals.

Any double taxation jeopardy can be solved by tax treaties with other countries. Tax havens need not apply.

10 – wouldn’t apply to Philip Green though, since the accusation is that the relevant shareholding is owned by his wife, who was born in South Africa and lives in Monaco. Unless you’re proposing that HMG taxes the income of people who are not British and not resident in Britain, it’s not going to fly.

All the right-wingers rushing to defend Sir Philip (and other tax avoiders) on the basis that their actions are entirely legal (which the critics don’t dispute) – I have a question for you:

Given that – according to a vast array of right-wing newspaper articles – it is perfectly legal for a couple to be long-term unemployed and have an endless succession of children, thereby claiming ever more benefits, does that make this practise ok?

Care to rush to their defence?

12 – It’s a meaningless comparison. Tax avoidance is not merely legal, it is both inevitable and desirable. Why should anyone structure their business in such a way as to make sure that they maximise the amount they pay in tax? It would be an absurd thing to do.

Equally, I don’t see a direct analogy between ‘taking money from the state’ and ‘giving less of your money to the state’. They’re different things.

Tim J,

Equally, I don’t see a direct analogy between ‘taking money from the state’ and ‘giving less of your money to the state’. They’re different things.

Ah but some people (and I suspect Chaminda is among them) do not see it as ‘your’ money, they see it as the state’s largesse.

13 – Ah, rich folk playing the system to short change the rest of us is ‘desirable’.

Thanks for clearing that up

Why are we quibbling about legality again? You seem to have forgotten that the government can change the law to whatever it whats, and that if they wanted to make it illegal to avoid tax by setting up bogus foreign companies they could have it debated and presented to the queen inside of a month.

Big Philly Style (as he shall henceforth be monickered) is pretty much a rational actor in all of this – he paid an accountant to manage his money, his accountant paid his lawyer to do something, and that was that. Phil probably has no idea how much piss he’s taking because it’s his accountant’s problem, and it will always be his accountant’s problem.

It’s perfectly legitimate to criticise the government for not wanting to close our large number of unnecessary, divisive, deliberate and not-exactly-secret tax loopholes. What both lefties and righties need to do is focus on BPS less and on the Coalition more.

14 – if you mean that the state has the inherent right to do whatever it likes with tax revenue, splash it around at will – no, I don’t think that. I think that tax is collected by the government on the understanding that it will spend what is effectively other people’s money carefully. We can argue over what the government should spend money on, what its policies and goals should be, but whatever those policies and goals are, the government shouldn’t spend more than it has to in achieving them.

However, if – as you seem to imply – tax is some sort of theft and people should try as hard as they can to wangle their way out of paying it – no, I don’t agree. If you don’t want to pay, you shouldn’t use what it pays for – so keep your kids out of state school, keep your family out of state hospitals, keep off the road network and all public transport. Etc.

It’s called finding a balance. Ideologues hate it.

Ah, rich folk playing the system to short change the rest of us is ‘desirable’

You have a pension? Or an ISA? Are you self-employed? You mean-spirited, double-crossing tax avoider you.

All tax avoidance means is structuring your finances so that you don’t pay more tax than you have to. It’s not a complicated concept. And I’d be interested to see how it’s “short-changing” anybody. Was it your money that they earned?

So ‘Tax Avoidance’ is doing what the law intended.

What’s the problem?

20. Shatterface

‘We are talking about a bloke who spent £5m celebrating his 50th birthday with a three-day Roman toga party, with guests including Michael Winner, Jeremy Beadle and Stirling Moss.’

Well, thanks for that image!

Now I need to wash my head out.

18 – Yawn

Here you go again likening ISAs to offshore tax ploys.

The former is tax planning, using readily available structures designed to allow people on low and moderate incomes to keep more of their money.

The latter is tax avoidance, open only to the rich and the super-rich, exploiting loopholes in pursuit of slightly more expensive Mediterranean yachts, via structures that defy all logic – companies based in the Caymans that conduct no business and hire no staff in the Caymans, for example.

And tax avoidance reduces the revenue raised by the government, meaning that the burden falls more heavily on the rest of us – hence the short changing.

Of course, you see no difference at all between the two. As far as you’re concerned, if the rich can play the rules, good luck to ‘em.

Well, that’s your worldview. Mine is different. And I suspect most people would share mine rather than yours.

The former is tax planning, using readily available structures designed to allow people on low and moderate incomes to keep more of their money.

The latter is tax avoidance, open only to the rich and the super-rich, exploiting loopholes in pursuit of slightly more expensive Mediterranean yachts, via structures that defy all logic – companies based in the Caymans that conduct no business and hire no staff in the Caymans, for example.

So, applying the law to minimise tax is fine when poor people do it, but unacceptable when rich people do it in ways you don’t understand. It’s a point of view certainly, but it’s not one that I think should govern the application or interpretation of the law.

23. the a&e charge nurse

Sir Phil – the bloated face of Cameron’s efficiency drive …….. say no more!!

All money earned in the UK from the Labour of UK citizens should be taxed by the UK government. For far too long the rich have been pillaging our country. Making money out of our labour and running off with their immoral earnings.

Green is a case in point. He owns and runs the company. He cannot claim non-dom status because of work commitments so he has wife pretend to own the company, thus evading the tax. It might, just about, be legal, but it is deeply immoral.

It also cost every UK tax payer. the 1.2 billion Mrs Green took out of the UK economy should have attracted around 0.5 billion in taxes. Think about it, that is the same as the tax paid by 5,000 UK tax payers on the average income.

All of the money was earned in the UK, so why should they not pay their fair share towards the government support agencies that make their business possible (i.e. Police to protect their stores, the health service which maintains their work force, etc, etc).

25. Bhanu Tiwari

The moment I saw the unbelievable The End Of Nations article on Hubpages I decided that Sir Philip Green’s commentators totally should be able to express their opinions on this! http://hubpages.com/hub/Global-Union-The-End-Of-Nations

I think Tim J is missing the point about the benefit claimants.

Why is vitriol directed towards Green not okay but that directed towards the people who abuse the benefits system (1% I believe) okay?

Neither created the current system, but both are making use of it. Why are the poor a legitimate target where it is of course the state providing the services which are in dispute? Why target the poor but not state, if it is the state that is the problem?

(I appreciate you are not a right wing cliche and I don’t actually remember you personally attacking the poor, but many/most on the right do)

No, I don’t get it either. And I do like to think of myself as being economically left-ish.

If there’s a legal way for this dude’s company to avoid paying tax on some money it’s earned, then why shouldn’t it? Nobody called me a dirty tax avoider when I brought a bottle of ouzo back from Greece – but I didn’t pay any duty on it.

There’s no obvious comparison that I can make with tax avoiders and people who do well by the benefit system (which is to say, not committing benefit fraud, but receiving enough money to make the Sun spitting mad).

Here’s a thought – maybe we should lower taxes on items that are easy to implement tax avoidance on. Dividends, etc, and increase taxes on things that are less avoidable – say, operating profits. If people can avoid taxes legally that everyone thinks they “should” be paying, then that stinks of being a problem with the tax system, not the person.

18

You don’t seem to know what you’re talking about…. ISAs (PEPs before them) are a marketing tool to encourage more plebs like me to invest money. The government make them more attractive with the tax exemptions – same sort of thing with pensions.

What I’m trying to say is that there’s completely no comparison as the government want us to do it, you know, save a little bit of money especially for our old age.

Very rich people employing specialist accountants and lawyers is a totally different thing as I can’t remember the government marketing this, can I? Well, I know I haven’t but wouldn’t be surprised if George Osborne now looks to take very rich people out of tax just in case – worried about the brain drain you know.

Funny very rich Americans don’t seem to have a problem paying tax, actually, they probably do but it doesn’t cause them to scuttle off into funny little tax ‘paradises’ because the IRS would put them in federal prison.

@26. Left Outside. It’s possibly that those who abuse the benefit system are committing a crime, but Philip Green isn’t if he is avoiding (not evading) tax.

I don’t want to go down the line of Philip Green is giving less of his money to the state whereas benefit scammers are taking money from the state, and that there is a qualitative difference, though I imagine genuine libertarians might truly believe that. Saying Green is legitimately and legally giving less of his money to the state whereas benefit scammers are illegitimately and illegally taking money from the state has more of a leg to stand on.

“All this rage against Green seems a bit odd to me. He hasn’t done anything illegal in arranging his taxation and he is offering his services for free.”

Well of cause it is a bit odd to you because you are a tory troll. Rich people avoiding paying tax is not a problem for the tory troll or the tory party. But of course we should remember that if some one claims a penny more than they should do on welfare the tory troll will want them put to death.

As for offering his services for free. PLEASE!! He can afford offer his services for free if he is he is avoiding £300 million in tax.

The good thing about this is that it reminds us that Tim Jerk and the other tory trolls care only for the rich. The tory party can pretend that we are all in it together, but the way they defend rich people who avoid tax is very revealing. Personally if Mr Green does not pay his taxes here I would tell him to fuck off and take his scabby shops with him. When all these rich people and their families are all packed into their tax havens and can’t operate anywhere in the world so much the better. I am fed up with rich scroungers living in this country, and enjoying all the benefits but paying nothing in return.

By the way, for all those Lie Dems out there , this is another slap in the face for your Vince Cable. The tories are taking the piss out of you now. They are going out of their way to rub you shiny little faces in the their tax avoiding shit. Enjoy!

31. Grimsby Fiendish

I wonder how many of the Lefties in this thread complaining that Green should pay more tax than he is legally obliged to have themselves voluntarily paid more tax than they are legally obliged to?

I reckon precisely none have done so. Speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

The key point is ian’s, reply 19. He is wrong in saying green is doing what the law intends, which is the difference between the examples of ISA’s etc and tax avoidance as perpetrated by big business. That’s why the things used to perpetrate the avoidance are called loopholes.

Yes, I screwed up by conflating tax avoidance and benefit fraud while trying to be clever. Bugger.

The problem is that taxes are more expensive than the services of an accountant. Therefore, all we need to do is put a super tax on accountants…

Bless, Sally. Since I voted lib-dem, your post has internal inconsistency issues. ENORESOLUTION.

As it happens, I want the poor to be not poor. I don’t particularly care just how obscenely rich the obscenely rich are – or aren’t. From my vantage point, once you get over £100,000/year, you’re filthy rich – there’s no point stratifying it further.

Most importantly, though, I want ideas and criticisms to be solid. “Philip Green is really good at reducing business costs (taxes, to you and me) so he shouldn’t advise the government on austerity measures” is, if not factually wrong, then simply nonsensical.

One question to mr green:

What can you do with £1.2bn that you’d struggle to do with a mere £900m?

Fact is this man has fofeited the right to advise on any aspect of public expenditure until that £300m ( the amount he woul have been taxed had the divi been remitted in the uk) is paid over voluntarily.

The current situation is monstrously immoral and indefensible – no matter how much the Right whines that it isn’t.

@MarkG Without the benefit of the collective knowledge of legislators throughout history we have to assume that what is legal is intended to be legal until Parliament decides to change it.

The fact that various ways of accounting income exists, and have existed throughout the 13 years of Labour’s administration with the full knowledge and acceptance (c.f. the names quoted above) of the Labour party suggests to me that Blair/Brown/Darling etc all intended the tax system to be the way it is.

It is hypocritical, disingenuous and opportunistic for Labour to criticise it now when in opposition.

Oh, and I am not a Tory. Anarcho-Distributist would probably be the closest description.

“It is hypocritical, disingenuous and opportunistic for Labour to criticise it now when in opposition”

Not every one supported Bliars love in with the rich.

38. Charlieman

@31 Grimsby Fiendish: “I wonder how many of the Lefties in this thread complaining that Green should pay more tax than he is legally obliged to have themselves voluntarily paid more tax than they are legally obliged to?”

As I recall, HMRC report that the number of unsolicited tax cheques per annum is in single figures. I also recall a kerfuffle about MPs expenses and “unexpected” capital gains, after which a number of politicians reported that a cheque to cover the windfall from property sales was in the post.

I appreciate that HMRC will not tell us who pays unsolicited contributions. But a well worded FoI request would establish whether there has been a flurry of such payments in the last 12 months or so, which might support fine worded claims.

He was a pretty dumb choice for this particular role. Maybe they don’t care how it would be portrayed and that is the wider point that they are making. Just because Mr Green is good at selling things does not give him some special insight into how government can work more efficiently. When Salmond appointed Jim McColl, an engineering entrepreneur who is lives in Monaco as an advisor, Vince Cable said it was ‘ completely unacceptable ‘. Now he is party to the same thing.

Wealthy people will use whatever means they can to game the system. They did not get rich in the first place by needlessly giving money away. We can either get all pious and say they are unethical. That is the preferred option for the super rich because they do not give a shit what you think. Alternatively we can put in place measures that capture a fair return to the community that generated the economic activity. The economic activity was generated in Britain not Monaco so a fair return should go to British community. Clearly Britain is not getting a fair return when a dividend payment transfers to Monaco untaxed. Therefore, the burden falls on others to make up the shortfall. In other words, it is parasitical behaviour.

Taxing someone for holding a British passport no matter where they are in the world or saying an owner of a British firm must have a British passport would be unlawful in the EU. Moreover, the system would still be gamed and is not the best option. The best option is a land value tax which captures the economic rent from where the economic activity occurs. LVT is impossible to evade or avoid and there is then no need to tax dividends.

40. Charlieman

@35 BenM: “What can you do with £1.2bn that you’d struggle to do with a mere £900m?”

Are you not familiar with the James Bond villain who aspires to control the world ;-)

On a more sensible note, there are rich philanthropists who like to control how the money that they earned is given away. Gates, Soros, Buffett give to social/humanitarian bodies that they effectively control. Paul Allen (the other big Microsoft philanthropist) notably gives to technological causes that might increase scientific knowledge or greater understanding of technology.

I accept that there is arrogance in wishing to control such large charitable funds. But I know enough about my own contempt of government to understand that I would not wish them to disburse my money more than they do so already.

Incidentally, Philip Green is at the sort of age when wealthy people recognise that they have more than enough for family needs and can afford to set up trusts and funds. Green’s rehabilitation requires him to get on with it.

The legality/morality of Phillip Green’s tax affairs is neither here nor there. The fact is, he has used loopholes and blind spots within the system to wriggle out of paying tax that you would in other circumstances be expected to pay. ISAs are not loopholes, they are deliberately built into the tax system and provide EVERYONE to save prescribed amounts of money that can be saved tax free. They do exactly as it says on the tin.

Every penny Phillip Green owns has been made with the direct assistance of the Nation State. Every penny. The State has spent BILLIONS of quid educating, treating, feeding and housing both his staff and customers, directly or indirectly. The State has spent BILLIONS on the infrastructure of this Country as well. It has spent BILLIONS propping up that currency and the economy too. Not only that, but the Nation State is also responsible legislation, implementing and presiding over a myriad laws from theft, contract law copyright, trade markets, contract law, Limited Liability etc. Of course, last but by no means least, the State also defended the Country with a standing army and a fuck off nuclear arsenal that could have wiped every major city of the face of the Earth.

Hard work, entrepreneurship a good head for business, a will to succeed etc are all very well, but without the infrastructure in place to exploit it. Had Phillip Green been born in Somalia, he could have been exporting Khat or a pirate. Not having a go at the man, you understand, He has no doubt worked hard to get there, but let us not pretend he could have done any that with the Nation State. We can imagine a Universe without Phillip Green; perhaps someone else would have taken his place, perhaps we would have thousands of unrepentant retailers would have existed, perhaps it would look 1983? Who knows, but if we imagine a Universe without the concept of the Nation State, then Global capitalism would not exist.

Anywho, having said all that, Phillip Green has spent much of his life actively trying to avoid paying into a system that he benefited from and benefited from more than most (perhaps through his own endeavour, but still). He has, in effect, cut himself apart from that Nation whilst reaping the benefits that it provides. He wants the laws to apply to his stock, but as long as he doesn’t need to pay into it. He wants educated staff, he requires educated customers, he wants a stable currency and stable economies too, and he does not refuse to serve public servants or dole punters, so he wants them to be able to afford his clothes too. It goes without saying he want the Red Menace kept from the shores too. Yet he has expected others to pay for them. In the system, but not a part of it whatever the term is for such an organism is, but rest assured.

Now, having said all that, it appears that Cameron thinks that such a man who has gained Billions from that ‘waste’ is the very man to find it? This man has actively been avoiding making his fair contribution and NOW things he can be part of that system? A system he openly despises?

People seem to constantly criticise Sir Philip Green for being a tax avoider. He’s paid millions in tax over the years and the money he gave to his wife is well within the rules. He has done absolutely nothing wrong.

However, his work experience does not qualify him to do this job. His entire career has been in retail and the finances of the Arcadia Group and Taveta Investments (Arcadia’s parent company) are nowhere near the figures he has to deal with as part of the spending review.

43. Charlieman

@41 Jim: “The fact is, he has used loopholes and blind spots within the system to wriggle out of paying tax that you would in other circumstances be expected to pay.”

This isn’t about loopholes or blind spots. Mrs Green lives outside the UK and is the owner of the Green family assets. On income, she pays the local rate rather than the UK rate. Should Mr and Mrs Green decide to divorce, the proceedings would cause much merriment.

You and your partner, Jim, could do a similar thing. You don’t need an expensive accountant or tax lawyer — a couple of hours professional work to write papers — then pack one off to live in Monaco or Lichtenstein. Good luck at establishing residence there unless you are seriously rich. Perhaps a B&B on the Isle of Man might suffice for the common man?

As the lack of legal proceedings shows, the Nation State(tm) doesn’t think Green’s done anything illegal. Which is a separate question to morally justifiable, of course, but their appointment of him to a position of office suggests they think he’s OK on that point too.

If gifting foreign nationals with huge wads of cash in the form of dividends for personal gain is to be made illegal, then it’s not going to be done so /retrospectively/ – as is right and proper – so this chunk of these billions isn’t claw-backable.

I don’t think it’s particularly clear that it is actually bad and evil and something to be made illegal, though. Surely the Nation State(tm) has gained what it thinks was the proper recompense for the work it put into making that profit for the company, in the form of other taxes, already. The tax on the dividend is a tax on their facilitation of the work the recipient has put into receiving the dividend – whatever that work may or may not be (who knows how difficult Green is to put up with at home?) – and in the case of a foreign national on foreign soil, what has the Nation State ™ of Britain(tm)(c)(lol)(r)(µ) done, exactly, that makes them deserving of the tax revenue?

I don’t think any (or at least many) righties think Philip Green is a good choice. WE were just objecting to

“There was me thinking that the law says what it says, and that people have to stick to it or get busted. But no, it’s open to interpretation. If you are a wealthy company trying to avoid tax, that is.”

As umpteen people pointed out, the law is open to interpretation full stop. We have people called lawyers to interpret it. Tax law has a lower tier of people (tax lawyers are the higher tier – for rich entities only) to interpret it, called accountants.

As his defenders point out, Sir Phillip has done nothing illegal. He has diligently used the rules to claim as much cash as possible for himself, and keep as much as possible out of government hands.

Interestingly, we know that around £10.5bn of benefit entitlements goes unclaimed every year – dwarfing the £1.5bn lost to fraud and error. Should the nation’s vilified benefit claimants adopt Sir Phillip’s own assiduous approach as a role model – obeying the law but extracting every penny legally possible – the Exchequer would be a net loser of around £9bn annually.

47. the a&e charge nurse

Oi, Sir Phil, when you’ve finished fiddling the books can you take a look at this lot?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/aug/20/health-trusts-private-consultants

On the general matter of ‘efficiency’ I can see another bulge that might benefit from slight trimming – when you’ve finished poring over your tax returns, obviously?
http://www.modelsblog.info/content/2008/08/0108_katemoss01.jpg

‘Rich people avoiding paying tax is not a problem for the tory troll or the tory party.’

Not that I’m a Tory, (sorry to dissapoint your persecution complex), but as has been endlessly pointed out ‘avoidance’ is not a problem but legitimately arranging your affairs so as to pay no more tax than the government is actually demanding.

Evasion is a problem but is not the same thing. If you want the whole system to be clearer then you have my whole hearted support but ’twas dear Gordon who gave us the world’s most complicated tax code. Blaming the Tory party is a bit rich.

46 ” Interestingly, we know that around £10.5bn of benefit entitlements goes unclaimed every year – dwarfing the £1.5bn lost to fraud and error. Should the nation’s vilified benefit claimants adopt Sir Phillip’s own assiduous approach as a role model – obeying the law but extracting every penny legally possible – the Exchequer would be a net loser of around £9bn annually.”

Very well said, and a great repost to the tory trolls who seem to think using the law to screw every penny out of paying tax is just fine. Well they should shut the fuck up when poor people use the same tactics to get every penny out of welfare.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Sir Philip Green: tax avoider gets job on the side http://bit.ly/9V9sOg

  2. sunny hundal

    "HMRC is full of intelligent ppl but we are sometimes too black and white about [tax evasion] law" http://bit.ly/9V9sOg

  3. Alan J Slater

    In this – http://bit.ly/9NPU0r – not the *Phil the Classy* bit but the tax avoidance bit… It. Beggars. Belief. #Revolutionnow

  4. Dez

    RT @sunny_hundal: "HMRC is full of intelligent ppl but we are sometimes too black and white about [tax evasion] law" http://bit.ly/9V9sOg

  5. Thomas Gillespie

    RT @sunny_hundal: "HMRC is full of intelligent ppl but we are sometimes too black and white about [tax evasion] law" http://bit.ly/9V9sOg

  6. Greg Sheppard

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/08/20/sir-philip-green-tax-avoider-gets-job-on-the-side/

  7. Neil K. Sheridan

    @Shandeva http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/08/20/sir-philip-green-tax-avoider-gets-job-on-the-side/ IT IS INFURIATING!





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