Friday, 11 January 2013


The global tax evaders’ public relations machinery continues to blast out the message that multinationals and individuals are legally entitled to fiddle their books. But, the vastly expensive PR machine and the optimistic, artful dodgers are incorrect.

“EVERYBODY AGREES IT IS LEGAL” - Having written the scripts of all media presenters throughout 2012 to have them parrot, “…complex Tax Avoidance, …which is of course perfectly legal”; the tax-evasion industry is now promoting super-rich executives of multinationals to pompously pronounce without fear of contradiction that “International Businesses Choose How Much and Where to Pay Taxes”.

Sir Martin Sorrell, boss of £10B a year WPP Group*, seems to be the latest in a line of, absolutely certain, very, very rich executives to state the corporate right to siphon out profits earned in high-tax regions and dump them in low-tax regions, legally, on an executive whim, whatever national governments and voters may want. I am afraid, Sir Martin, that what you believe is not entirely true - in UK or in international tax law. Do prepare to sue your costly, enthusiastic, overly imaginative, deluded tax-planners.

(* – WPP and Sir Martin and their executives and advisers, act perfectly legally at all times in tax matters. They are cited here only for illustrative and exemplary purposes following recent media interviews.)

ADVICE ON CAPITAL TRANSFERS - You are perfectly legally entitled in the “global village” to move your corporate assets around as you like. If, for example, WPP earns £10B in a year and half your Revenues originate from UK business (irrespective of how your clients in turn may operate their Enron Offshore Accounting), you can gouge all the £5 billion out of the UK and bank it in Delaware, or Cayman, or Rockall or any tax-haven you choose – and refuse to invest it back into the communities it came from – consigning their workers, as has happened in Greece, to lifetimes of unemployment and despair on the scrapheap.  That is your choice.

ADVICE ON TAX DEDUCTIBLE INVOICES - But, the real commercial Accounts of the profits you have earned in the UK, say £1B for example, must show how that commercial profit has been reduced to zero in the UK. The tax-deductible invoices you create to send from, say, Belgium, Sark, Bermuda, Isle of Man or Dublin to London, have to accord with UK tax-law; otherwise HMRC can and will, and does in many cases, retrospectively rescind the tax deductibility of those invoices, contracts, management fees etc. And you or WPP will be taxed in the UK.

ADVICE ON BACK-DUTY-TAX ASSESSMENTS - Even more costly, if the UK gets really pissed off with being a perennial patsy, all the money siphoned from the UK Accounts and shovelled overseas can be reclassified, retrospectively, without time limit (e.g. – back to 1980) as executive pay of the people in control (A director by whatever name called) – and be assessed as their salaries with PAYE and NIC payable. Such wicked and terrifying retrospective assessments are routinely raised by HMRC (the UK’s tax collector) – plus compound interest and penalties; on smaller businesses

So far, for the past 30 years, the global confidence of big business and the super rich of being untouchable by tax collectors has been fully warranted, as the idiotic, banal, Free Market, no-rules philosophy has been rolled out in major OECD economies. The mantra “We are all in it together” actually refers to the global conspiracy that “only little people pay taxes” – the “We” are the super-rich 1% including most politicians and senior civil servants – as in Greece. But, with capital on strike, hiding $21 trillion in tax-havens, which is the majority of our global liquidity, the mob is growing angry. All rulers quail when the mob marches – and, sadly, everybody suffers. Revolutions are messy affairs.

As the political storm clouds gather, HMRC and the IRS, and even corrupt Greek tax officials, are flexing their neglected muscles and dusting off their Back Duty Assessment, False Accounting and Fraudulent Conspiracy rules that are applied when tax-payers keep two, or more, sets of books.

My forecast for 2013 is that hundreds of high profile, major cases, individual, corporate and international will be prosecuted; and tax-authorities will compete to repatriate the $21 trillion to their own national treasuries.

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