Richard Murphy Taxcast: are banks playing fair?

6:07 pm - February 26th 2012

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The Taxcast is an upbeat 15 minute monthly podcast with the latest news, research and analysis of global events in tax evasion, tax avoidance and the shadow banking system.

It features headlines, analysis with economist Richard Murphy of The Courageous State and a mini-documentary.

In February’s Taxcast: Are City of London Police really serious about prosecuting financial crimes? Are bankers paying fair taxes on their bonuses? And how Facebook is saving billions in tax via Ireland and Bermuda.

Special focus this month: the tax haven of the City of London, semi-autonmous state within a state.

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Reader comments

If the banks are not doing anything that is illegal, they cannot be brandished as acting “unfair”. That’s a vague wishy-washy term by which you cannot lead a corporation.

It might be however that the laws are not fair, and then they have to be changed. But again, the lack of this happening is not the banks’ fault.

1. AM

No – what you need to understand is that in Murphyland illegality is defined as ‘not paying the tax Murphy thinks you should’

Laws of the country are a mere nothing compared to the absolute authority of Murphy to rule on these issues.

2. Max

So what level of tax do you think the banks and corporations should pay?

3. Jon

Whatever the law says. If you want them to pay more then change the law & suffer the consequences (if any).

There is (IMHO) only tax compliance (which includes avoidance within the law) or tax evasion (which is illegal).

Making up tax rates on ‘bankers bonuses’ as the fancy takes you (well, as Ed Balls does) is naive nonsense a la Murphy.

5. Frances_coppola

Blimey. Murphy wants banks to pay bankers’ bonuses from TAXED income. But half of the money paid out in bonuses comes straight back to the Treasury anyway in the form of top rate income tax. He wants to claw back a further 26%, making an effective tax rate on bonuses of 76% (not including NI).

6. Frances_coppola

Re that claim by the taxcast presenter that Barclays only pays 1% corporation tax on its profits, I assume this was a reference to the 2009 UK corporation tax bill of £113m against profits (including exceptional items) of £11.6 bn. But that was exceptionally low because of an asset disposal and heavy losses in the financial crisis. Even this exceptionally low tax bill was 6% of declared profits, not 1%. The results just published for 2011 show UK corporation tax paid of £1.9bn against unadjusted profits of £5.88bn, which is 32% excluding the bank levy. Where do Tax Justice get their 1% figure from?

7. Frances_coppola

Tax Justice suggest the City of London police deliberately pursue no-hope cases in order to avoid prosecuting real villains – by implication, they mean the banks, who they claim are the City of London police’s paymasters. What evidence do they have for this? And have they forgotten about the role of the CPS in deciding which cases should go to court?

8. Frances_coppola

Re Murphy’s idea that bankers’ bonuses may qualify for capital gains tax instead of income tax if paid in shares. This would be true when the shares were sold – which usually they can’t be for a while, as the whole point of paying bonuses in shares is to give senior employees a personal stake in the success of the company. But the dividend income from the shares attracts top-rate income tax.

It is also completely wrong to describe the payment of bonuses from untaxed income as a “subsidy”. All remuneration of employees is legitimate business expense which is deducted from operating profits prior to tax. In seeking to end this, Murphy in effect is demanding that the tax regime for banks should be different from that for all other companies. Why should it?

9. Frances_coppola

Is every country that has significantly lower tax rates than the UK automatically a “secrecy jurisdiction”? Ireland and the Netherlands are sovereign countries. They are at liberty to set their own tax rates, and if that means setting a lower rate in order to attract business, that is their choice. Is Tax Justice alleging that how they run their tax system is illegal or immoral IN ADDITION to the low tax rates, or is it just objecting to tax arbitrage?

10. Frances_coppola

Oh, I give up. It’ll take me all day to fisk this awful podcast by commenting here. I’ve taken it apart in a blog instead

Why does LibCon publish this drivel?

I left a question on Frances’s blog for Murphy, who commented there but did not respond to my question. I can’t be bothered to leave it on Murphy’s blog because of his comments policy.

With what offence(s) should ‘the bankers’ be charged?

Liberal Conspiracy.

Please do get someone else to do these. Not someone who just makes inane comments and then verbally bludgeons and abuses anyone who happens to have a different opinion.

We all know Richard is just a paid employee of various interest groups.

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    The biggest con men wear suits and tell lies

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