This is not what it seems to be in the sense that it is not about the day to day corruption we read about and it is not about the criminality of corrupt people.
It is about how the state is corrupting the meaning of words and how this is used in deliberate process to turn innocent people into criminals. Is this then just another conspiracy proposal written by a conspiracy nut? Judge for yourself!
My proposition comes from a casual read this morning of the SARS flyer called ‘Tax Season 2012: Everything You Need To Know To Be Good At Tax’ (a loaded title if ever I saw one, I mean does anyone really believes that the words ‘Tax’ and ‘Good’ belong together?).
The flyer tells us that SARS wants everyone to be good at tax, and continues by arguing that SARS needs to focus its manpower resource where they it is really needed, that is on those citizens who go to great lengths to AVOID and evade paying what is RIGHTLY due from them (my capitalization).
Read into the avoidance issue what you will, and it is really topical after Jimmy Carr (UK Comedian), and others, admitted to be structuring tax so that they paid a very low 1% on certain earnings followed by David Cameron’s criticism of tax avoidance.
What is going here I think is a fair question? Avoidance generally means ensuring that you are not exposed more than you need or want to be and therefore implies a proactive planning process to minimise risk and costs; something that I would think that most people would want to do within the framework of their chosen lifestyles. In fact, the response to Cameron’s comments were mostly critical, suggesting that it was the governments job to ensure the fairness and enforcement of the tax laws, and that it ridiculous to suggest that people should not structure their affairs, in a legal manner, to minimise their taxes.
Of course, tax evasion is something else entirely and is clearly illegal!
What we have in the example of the SARS flyer is a deliberate corruption of the meaning of tax planning (avoidance) that potentially makes every tax payer a criminal. It is worth speculating on what will happen once the principle of the criminality of avoidance is established; what will define acceptable limits? Taken to its logical conclusion it will mean that tax payers are expected to structure their affairs to ensure that they pay maximum tax; that certainly will ensure that many tax payers will become criminals.
Perhaps there is an imbalance here in the sense that it can be costly to buy the expertise need to avoid tax, and therefore the system favours the wealthy. Surely then the responsibility falls to the state to establish appropriate constraints by ensuring that the system is structured to be effective fair and balanced. Criminalizing planning and avoidance pushes accountability onto law abiding individuals and hides the inadequacies of SARS…they can do better than this I am sure.
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