A manifesto for tax justice

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Demands for tax justice continue to ferment in the face of the economically unjustifiable cuts that the ConDems are seeking to impose on our economy.

The Tax Justice Network is not organising demonstrations and nor am I. But the demand for justice is one I can readily endorse.

In the spirit of that demand I have been asked to summarise the grievances those who are demonstrating, and as importantly those who are supporting them, might have and what might be done about it.

This is my offering, first made a month ago, but as relevant now:

A. Cuts and the Tax Gap

We note

1. The ConDem governments planned cuts in government services.

2. That there is a tax gap in the UK made up of £70 billion of tax evasion, £25 billion of tax avoidance and £25 billion of unpaid tax.

3. That the government has got rid of 30,000 employees at H M Revenue & Customs and is planning to get rid of 13,000 more over the next four years.

4. The massive errors in the calculation of people’s tax bills by H M Revenue & Customs

We demand:

a. That the government stop the cuts

b. That all job cuts at H M Revenue & Customs be cancelled

c. That 20,000 new staff be recruited at H M Revenue & Customs to tackle the tax gap

d. That H M Revenue & Customs be told to raise the right amount of tax at the right time from the right person and that it be given the resources necessary to ensure it can do so

e. That we have a General Anti-avoidance Provision that bans tax avoidance

f. The tax system is made progressive so that the rich always pay more than the poor

B. Business tax and the banks

We note:

1. That big business is not paying the tax expected of it

2. That big business is the only part of the economy expecting a tax cut over the next four years

3. That by 2014 big business will be paying tax at lower rates than any small business and any individual in the UK

4. That the banks who created the current financial crisis are paying very little tax as a result of it

5. The the new bank levy will raise less than the one off Bankers’ Bonus Tax

6. That the government is opposing a Robin Hood Tax on the riskiest transactions banks undertake that could raise billions of pounds a year

We demand:

a. That tax laws applicable to big business be rigorously imposed

b. That planned tax cuts for big business be cancelled

c. That banks be denied tax relief on losses already funded by the state

d. That the bankers’ bonus tax be made permanent

e. That the government introduce a Robin Hood Tax instead of the bank levy

f. That country-by-country reporting be required of big business so anyone can monitor where they make their profits and pay their taxes

C. Tax havens

We note:

1. That the UK is responsible for ten tax havens.

2. The UK is itself a tax haven for rich foreigners because of its domicile rule

3. There has been almost no progress in increasing transparency in tax havens

4. Latest deals with tax havens like Switzerland confirm their right to provide banking secrecy

5. Tax havens are estimated to cost the UK £18.5 billion a year

We demand:

a. That the UK force its tax havens to reform

b. That the UK domicile rule be abolished

c. That automatic exchange of information between states on income earned by people and companies be established so that no one can hide their income from tax authorities

d. That deals that preserve banking secrecy with Switzerland and other states be scrapped before they are signed

e. That the secrecy surrounding offshore companies and trusts be banned