The super-rich getting away with not paying taxes (again)


Lionheart - Sir Philip's yacht

We have somehow morally justified the avoidance of taxes when it comes to the super-rich. These ‘perks’, that are not available to the average man, amount to a considerable loss to the Exchequer. Sir Philip Green gave away his portfolio of companies to his wife, Tina, about 10 years ago. Transfer of property between married couples is, of course, tax-free. However, at the point at which she took control of Arcadia plc, Lady Green moved to Monaco, thereby avoiding over £500 million a year in dividend (profit) tax. I am sure that Sir Philip and his wife are not the only super-rich couple depriving the exchequer in this way. This is how the poor get poorer and the rich get richer and no doubt this saving helps Sir Philip to buy trinkets like this private yacht, moored in the exclusive marina, Port Hercules,  in Monaco.

Then there is the report below this, of the super-rich avoiding paying Stamp Duty on property transactions by transferring ownership of a property to an off-shore company so when it comes to be sold the buyer purchases the company as a whole assuming de-facto ownership of the property. This ‘flipping’ of homes into off-shore corporate ownership is estimated to cost the UK government as much as £1 billion a year.

The interior of a luxury private jet - no passenger tax here. Now the latest gift to the grossly wealthy is the government's exclusion of private jet travel from the new Airline Passenger Tax.

The new insult to the squeezed basic rate taxpayer is the Airline Passenger Tax. This is a new, per passenger tax on airline travel.

This will come into effect next April and the rate is roughly ten percent of the ticket price. So if your ticket costs £300, you will pay an additional £30 – per person. However, private jets will be exempted from this, thereby giving the super-rich another gift from the taxpayers’ pocket. How can this be right? What adds insult to injury is, that if you have already purchased your ticket for next year’s holiday, you will still have to pay the tax in retrospect when you arrive at the airport ready to leave for your holiday. Some families will face a demand for £250 or more just so they can board a plane they booked months before! Why should this happen when those wealthy enough to pay their share to the Exchequer, studiously and unfairly avoid the commitment?

Steve McCabe, the MP and former Labour government whip, said the move was a poor choice at a time when ordinary people are struggling in the current economic climate.

“It tells you everything you need to know about this out-of-touch Prime Minister that on the day he chose to announce cuts in tax credits for low-paid working families, he also chose to give a tax cut to people who fly around the world in private jets,” he said.

“He clearly cares more about helping the millionaires who fund his party than he does about supporting millions of families whose budgets are being squeezed as a result of his failed economic policy.”