When John Cridland of the CBI spoke at Policy Exchange this morning he said:
“Businesses making use of the tax reliefs the government makes available to them is called tax management. It’s an important function of the business world, along with things such as human resources and financial control.
“It’s a dangerous — if sometimes convenient — myth some people peddle that all tax management is abusive, and amounts to evasion. It doesn’t.
First, no one I knows peddles that myth. People well know the difference bewteen avoidance and evasion. No one suggests large companies are evading - they have no reason to do so. So stop peddling myths John, I suggest.
Second, stop making up new myths. Tax management if it's form filling is fine. But you well know that what's criticised is the enormous effort companies go to to make sure that their profits fall out of the UK tax net altogether - usually via their extensive use of intellectual property rights located in tax havens - whose use you condemned this morning. So stop playing silly games by trying to rename the practice as tax management: it's tax avoidance and as George Osborne said it's morally repugnant. Now why not say so?