The rumours aren’t true, I don’t do David Cameron’s tax return or any of the cabinet’s either….
Author: Russell SmithApril 11, 2012
Wow! If, like me, you have a news feed for stories on tax (I’m guessing, unlikely), my emails have been positively filling up with fallout from the budget which was (unbelievably) 3 weeks ago.
First, we had the granny tax issue, then pastygate (or whatever that was) and now criticism around charitable giving (rich people giving charity to save tax). This has all prompted David Cameron to give people access to his tax records and comments today about a general anti-avoidance rule. Polly Toynbee in the Guardian has called on everybody’s tax returns to be public information.
So in case you were worried, I don’t do David Cameron’s tax return or any of the cabinet and I’m not about to publish my client’s tax returns.
It does appear that HM Revenue & Customs are winning the propaganda battle though, since they are blurring the lines between tax evasion (illegal) and tax avoidance (legal). I have also had clients ask me about the general anti avoidance rule. However, Graham Aaronson QC published the report on this on 11 November 2011 and concluded that a “broad spectrum anti-avoidance rule would not be beneficial for the UK tax system” as “this would carry a real risk of undermining the ability of businesses and individuals to carry out responsible tax planning”.
We will watch the developments over the coming months to see if the comments from the politicians amount to anything. But for me, as a chartered accountant, I am conditioned to save tax for clients, it is the way I and my team are built, it is our default position. It will be difficult to envisage a world where our profession will not be able to continue to do this but in the meantime, I will continue to go to bed with my tax manual and tax articles to make sure we, as a firm, are not missing any ways to save tax for our clients.