I was interested to hear in the UK Budget for 2013, George Osbourne, the Chancellor Of The Exchequer say that the government intended to introduce legislation to cover general tax avoidance.
I've always thought that dodging tax payable on income and profits by artificial means is inappropriate and bad for the country.
There's a big difference between taking advantage of tax incentives given by the government to encourage particular behaviour (e.g. companies investing in research and development, individuals making pension payments for their retirement) and some of the very warped behaviour I've heard about in tax schemes.
Ask "would you do this if it wasn't saving tax?"
Companies will still invest in R&D but probably not as much.
Individuals will still invest in pensions but probably not as much.
I was also pleased to hear the Chancellor talk about naming and shaming the professional advisers and companies who sell these aggressive tax avoidance schemes.
Of course, the cynic in me wondered if the more shameless of these people wouldn't appreciate the publicity and even the endorsement of selling tax schemes that really pushed the boundaries between what is legal and illegal.
Should Tax Advisers Who Promote Aggressive Tax Avoidance Schemes Be Named And Shamed?
What do you think?
Do people have every right to manage their tax payments to the very edge of what is legal?
Or should all individuals and companies feel obliged to pay their fair share so that the country as a whole can prosper and the poorest in society can be protected?