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Rich tax dodgers are as bad as dole cheats - — says Treasury Chief Secretary

June 21, 2012 11:34 AM
By The Sun in Danny Alexander
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats
Danny AlexanderHere the Treasury Chief Secretary explains why the Coalition is going after a wealthy elite for well over half the £7billion of tax unpaid each year.

IN these tough times, the vast majority of people across the country are working hard and paying their taxes despite the huge pressures on household budgets.

So to most people it's outrageous that a few of the very richest and their expensive financial advisers are devising ever more obscure and underhand ways of not paying their tax.

When it comes to paying their fair share, some of the people who can afford it most think they can get away with paying the least.

Frankly, I think people who dodge the tax system are the moral equivalent of benefit cheats.

Both sets of people think they can bend the rules everyone else lives by for their own benefit.

That is bad enough on its own but what makes it worse is that it's people like Sun readers who have to make up the difference.

The Coalition are already cutting income tax for working people but the truth is, if everyone paid what they owed, we could have even lower tax rates.

Whether you're a tax dodger or a benefit cheat, our approach is the same - we will track you down and when we find you, we will come down on you like a ton of bricks.

Let's also not forget what our taxes are for. They bring in the money that funds our schools and hospitals. They build our roads and they police our streets.

When times are tight the Government have a responsibility to watch every penny. And that means not wasting money on things we don't need, and making sure that everyone makes a fair contribution.

That's why this Government has been ruthless in its pursuit of tax dodgers.

We're investing hundreds of millions more in tax inspectors and setting up teams targeting the very richest who squirrel away cash in obscure offshore accounts.

This is on track to bring in an extra seven billion a year by 2015.

We are stopping people claiming too much tax relief, we have made sure the very rich can't dodge Stamp Duty by hiding properties in bogus companies and we recently closed a half-billion-pound avoidance scheme a major bank was using.

Hundreds of tax dodgers have been successfully prosecuted in the courts and we're not done yet.

I encourage you to do your bit too. If you suspect someone is getting away with not paying their fair share, you can shop them on the tax evasion hotline - 0800 788 887.

Of course, clever tax advisers will always try to find loopholes to dodge tax.

But our new anti-abuse rule will make this harder in future.

My message to the tax dodgers is that no matter how rich or famous you are, we are coming to get you.


Jimmy Carr, who mocked the practice on Channel 4 show 10 O'Clock Live, sheltered £3.3m a year in the Jersey-based K2 tax scheme and is among 1,100 rich Brits using the loophole to pay as little as 1.25 per cent tax when the UK basic rate is 20 per cent and top hit 50 has this morning stated that "he made a terrible error of judgement"