This is a useful – and amusing – thing to be reminded of. We are continually told that uncounted riches are stashed offshore, well beyond the reach of any taxman. And that if only we really did go rootling around we’d be able to find all the cash that makes our welfare state add up. The Senior Lecturer at Islington Technical College is a prime example of this line of thought, Prem Sikka another, even Gabriel Zucman seems to have fallen prey to the delusion.
For the truth is rather different. We do in fact gain information from these places. Sure, sometimes it’s government to government stuff, others it’s whistleblowers telling us the truth, The TRUTH I Tell ‘Ee! Like that Swiss Bank information exchange, which found that the vast majority – like 90% or so – of the alleged tax dodgers either didn’t owe UK tax or were already paying it. Like the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility – a method of going “Fair Cop Guv'” and dealing with past non-disclosure – which netted just the one single publicly named person. Dame Margaret, Lady Hodge, she of the continual campaign against offshore tax dodging. Do note that she’d not dodged herself either.
Or the Panama Papers which revealed that David Cameron – and his father – were paying UK income tax on time and in full on those offshore investment funds.
Or the Luxembourg Leaks:
Tax Evasion:Written question – 155651
Q Asked by John McDonnell(Hayes and Harlington)Asked on: 20 June 2018
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress his Department has made in its inquiry into the Luxembourg Leaks.
A Answered by: Mel Stride Answered on: 29 June 2018
HMRC has reviewed all the documents relating to 142 customers who had documents relating to their tax affairs disclosed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
This work did not reveal a single case of material information where either the detail of the transactions had not already been provided to HMRC or when examined did no more than confirm HMRC’s understanding of particular arrangements that were already known to HMRC.
There’s a lot less of this tax dodging going on than we’re generally told.