Since when were transfers into family trusts when in Switzerland plain vanilla tax avoidance?

Posted on

The Guardian has reported:

Lord Fink, the former Conservative treasurer who threatened to sue Ed Miliband over his comments on tax avoidance, has conceded that the practice is normal in British society.

The peer – a multimillionaire former hedge fund manager turned Conservative donor and philanthropist – also said he did take “vanilla” tax avoidance measures, including transferring shares into family trusts while he worked in Switzerland.

Let me ask the obvious question then: since when was transferring shares into family trusts when in Switzerland vanilla tax avoidance?

My answer is it isn't, unless you live in a very rarified world. Call it the world of the 0.1%. I certainly never saw it or did it in my practicing career. Nor would I have endorsed it.

The point is "vanilla" must imply normal. This is not. That doesn't mean it is isn't legal. Tax avoidance is, by definition. But "vanilla"? I don't think so.