So comedian Jimmy Carr has been in a spot of bother this week for putting his money in a scheme that allowed him to pay a rate of tax of only 1%. This was entirely legal.
Many have been up in arms that the rest of us have to pay considerably more than that on salaries that are considerably less (and shrinking). I disagree.
Firstly I need to make it quite clear that I am a strong supporter of state services such as education, roads, the NHS etc. and have made much use of these and other services over my life. Therefore, I also believe that in order to have these world class services we need to pay for them and an income tax is as good a way as any to pay for them.
However, I also would jump at the chance to reduce my tax bill, who wouldn’t? And that is exactly what Jimmy Carr has done in an entirely legal way. Of course, he’s a complete hypocrite for making jokes about those that that avoid tax while doing it himself and if everyone did it then we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the great education, health services et al that we have in the UK.
What’s wrong is that such tax loop holes exist and aren’t swiftly closed by the government.
What’s worse is that companies, such as Vodafone, are allowed to avoid paying tax, £4.8bn in their case. And if you want to see that graphically compared to the amount that Jimmy Carr avoided there is a great graphic on James Welch’s blog.
So let’s have a fair tax regime for all and that includes companies, individuals and smarmy comedians.