Rotten

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The Telegraph reports this morning that:

Despite the Revenue's crackdown, investing your money overseas can still pay.

It then goes on to say that the Court ruling that gave the revenue access to details of offshore bank accounts held by UK resident people was made last month. That's some measure of the accuracy of this piece.

But look at the list of those who they say are promoting offshore:

most high street banks - and some building societies

Alliance & Leicester International

Anglo Irish Bank

SG Hambros

Alan Steel Asset Management

Fidelity, Aberdeen and F&C

Then look at what is said:

Offshore accounts can be useful for those who own property overseas that provides rental income. If this income is kept in an offshore account, you can pay tax in the country of origin rather than in Britain, which may mean a lower tax bill.

That is 100% incorrect for a UK resident and domiciled person. To do as the Telegraph suggests would be tax evasion. And:

Some people might think that a bank account held overseas is beyond the taxman's grasp, and that omissions and undeclared tax bills are unlikely to be spotted. But this is no longer the case.

I added the emphasis. This has never been the case. All the Telegraph is doing is endorsing past tax evasion. Then look at what the advisers say:

For higher-rate taxpayers in particular, there are potential tax advantages in buying offshore bonds. "We use them every day of every week for our clients," says Christine Ross of SG Hambros. "They are a great legitimate tax planning tool."

Ask the question: great for whom? And what are the ethics of this? Then also ask why this can happen:

Alliance & Leicester International has launched a new "eSaver" account that pays 6.15 per cent gross. Although the account requires savers to deposit a minimum of £1,000, the rate is far more attractive than the 5.95 per cent offered by IceSave, which currently tops our best-buy tables [in the UK]. As the account can be opened online, A&L reckons that it is as simple to run as any other online or postal savings account.

How can what was a mutual society now set up offshore to abuse the place in which it is resident and UK society from which it obtains its legitimacy by seeking to move cash offshore? No wonder Dave Hartnett of HMRC is looking to question the practices of these banks. So he should be.

More than that though: we should be questioning why we allow such corruption to exist as it continues to undermine the society in which we all live and from which those with wealth benefit most. I have a word to describe those organisations that partake in these activities. They are rotten, which Wiktionary defines rather well as:

  1. Rancid perishable items that have been overridden with bacteria and other infectious agents.
  2. Cruel or mean.

These organisations have been overtaken by the infectious agency of greed, leaving them cruel and mean. The result as WordWeb puts it is that they are 'Damaged by decay; hence unsound and useless'. In other words, in need of replacement. It has to happen.