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Tax Justice

Taxes are a major way countries build up money to pay for basic services for their citizens. This pot of money is then redistributed to pay for: health, support for the poor, transport infrastructure, parks, public libraries, defence, emergency services, affordable housing, etc.
It is also crucial in preventing the creation of extreme wealth and the associated dominance by plutocracy and oligarchy, as it limits wealth accumulation.

It should not be used – as it often is in emergencies – to prop up corporations.
Nor should it be about making the wealthiest people and corporations even richer – and thereby wreaking horrific inequality on the vast majority of us.

"Anyone who puts money into a tax haven to avoid paying tax should acknowledge the damage it does to society."
(Jeremy Corbyn cited at BBC, posted and accessed 6 November 2017)

The global tax system has been designed to fail by the superrich.
Some of the richest individuals pay less income tax than the average nurse or hospital cleaner.

If you are an entity with substantial money, freedom from tax is not a noble ideal:

"Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty."
(George Monbiot
, The Guardian, posted 15 April 2016, accessed 9 November 2020)

Taxes need to be used for the benefit of the people. It should be noted that taxes are ‘public money’, effectively owned by the people (not by taxpayers).

Almost total tax avoidance by corporations and rich individuals is totally immoral – even if it is legal (e.g. Google, Amazon, Rupert Murdoch’s vast media empire, etc.).
It deprives people of our basic services.
Often offshore financial structures in low or no tax countries are used, as well as other accountancy trickery.

"It was the slave plantations that established the idea of offshore havens: places owned and governed by Britain, in which a different set of laws applied, enabling massively profitable, immoral businesses to thrive. This became the model for much of the elite British economy." (George Monbiot, 11 September 2020 tweet)

Corruption and money laundering are also widely practised. The UK is the number one offender at facilitating corporate tax dodging and a centre of political, economic, and corporate corruption (see here, here, here).

In my view, all this is evil. It is a manifestation of the Dark Side of the Force.

Caricature of two smirking tax consultants carrying piles of papers, on top of which each has a mug saying 'I love tax'

Tax cuts should not help the richest (as they typically do), but rather help the poorest.
Taxes need to be extremely heavy on the richest people and organisations.

"Progressive taxation has another ecological benefit: it generates revenues that can be invested in universal public services, like healthcare, education, transportation, affordable housing and so on. This is important, because expanding universal services is the single most powerful way to deliver high levels of well-being for all without needing to pursue high levels of GDP."
(Jason Hickel, The Correspondent, posted and accessed 9 October 2020)

This is to create a just and peaceful world.
Such a progressive tax system is something for us to be proud of:

“It’s a mark of our maturity and shared intelligence that we have a taxation system which seeks to address disadvantage, which genuinely seeks to connect profit here with need there.”(Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, cited in Tax Justice UK 5 November 2020 email)

Metal statue of Lady Justice, blindfold, holding a pair of scales, and behind a sign saying 'Tax Consulting Office'


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Page last updated: 8 June 2021.