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Death and taxes

There has been a re-newed "witch hunt" lately to crack down on "tax evaders".

I am not talking about the Cyprus crisis here - that's another can of worms with some interesting twists behind the scene (suffice it to say that some animals turned our to be "more equal" and, as usual, escaped unscathed). I am somewhat surprised few people are asking a simple and obvious question: why bank deposits were not touched in Greece...

What I am talking about is Merkel's pressure on the UK-linked tax heavens.

However, one doesn't need tax heavens to "optimise tax liabilities". Google made £2.6 billion of sales in the UK in 2012, yet  contributed just £6 million in corporation tax. Starbucks has not paid corporation tax in the UK in the last three years – and has only contributed £8.6 million over the course of its 15 years in Britain.

Why are we then surprised that many other companies and individuals follow those role models?..

Tax system in most countries is a highly distorted affair.

A cow that starts producing more milk gets milked even harder. What does that cow get in return for being milked harder? Nothing. Well, nothing different from what other cows get - after all, all the cows eat the same grass in the same field and are kept in the same barn. 

And then there are cows who eat the grass and shit in the barn, but produce no milk at all. They even often get greater care and attention from the farmer. No wonder that cows whose tits hurt and who feel unloved and unappreciated chose to go over the hills and far away to get milked. 

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, back in 1789, that "nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes". Yet, back in 1721, American colonies already traded from Latin America to avoid British taxes. Nothing changed since then...

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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Innovation in Financial Services

A discussion of trends in innovation management within financial institutions, and the key processes, technology and cultural shifts driving innovation.


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