An Independent editorial applauds George Osborne’s plans to combat offshore tax evasion by allowing HMRC to assume those who have undeclared income in a foreign bank account deliberately intend to evade tax, rather than have to prove it. This falls in with broader OECD rules that will see 65 countries exchanging deposit account information, the piece says, and is part of the Chancellor’s attempts to create a fairer tax system. However, in order to convince Britons they are treated equally to big business, the same attention needs to be given to multinationals, who, the article concludes, should be taxed on where they use their capital and make their sales, not where they claim to base their headquarters.
Source: The Independent
There is an absolutely fundamental point here on which we would go the barricades and fight in the street. It’s that everyone: and we mean everyone – Cliff Richard, Abu Qatada, Fred West – is entitled without question and with no conceivable possible exception for any reason whatsoever to be considered to be innocent unless and until the state proves to a court that there is no room for any reasonable doubt about their guilt. Regardless of how much the BBC, the Daily Mail or the Government might like to persuade us to the contrary. And there is no reason on Earth why any different rule should be applied to income which has arisen in a foreign bank account. We have no doubt that many people who fail to tell HMRC about foreign bank interest do so intending to evade tax. But is it right to assume that that is universally the case? No. No no no no no.