That’s rich! Our leaders should tackle tax avoidance
THE release of the Paradise Papers unleashed predictable levels of outrage at the parade of celebrities who exploit offshore tax shelters to keep their wealth out of the clutches of the taxman.
So profound was our shock and dismay at the revelations, you’d almost think that there was nothing that contributes so much to the sum of individual happiness as taxation.
OK, perhaps we can exclude Bono from the gallery of the great and the good who are guilty of behaving like many of us would, given half a chance. He’s built a platform as a great humanitarian with his Make Poverty History crusade and One foundation. Bono’s desire to have it both ways by publicly helping the underdog while privately indulging in tax avoidance measures casts him as a hypocrite at the very least.
But since when has the cast of Mrs Brown’s Boys urged ordinary workers to hand over more of their money to charity or the Third World? And who can remember the top tier of bankers in AIB trying to guilt-trip us about our First World problems?
Surely if we are earnest about clamping down on tax avoidance schemes which cost national exchequers billions every year in lost revenue, then rather than naming and shaming celebrities we should simply demand that Governments close off all legal loopholes and reform the global tax system entirely.
Under pressure from big business and the super-rich, governments turn a blind eye to the sophisticated schemes that drain public services of funds and shift the tax burden to the little people.
Their moral cowardice and incompetence is what’s ultimately responsible for our unequal tax system.