Hodge attacks tax advisers
Dame Margaret Hodge has launched an attack on advisers saying the government must come down harder on accountants and lawyers who facilitate tax avoidance. Speaking as part of a panel at a Times Law Brief Premium event, she said: “We need to be much, much tougher on advisers.”
What she does not seem to grasp is that tax avoidance is simply arranging your affairs in order to minimise your tax liabilities. There was a famous case in 1936 involving the Duke of Westminster. In that case famously, Lord Tomlin said
Every man is entitled if he can to order his affairs so that the tax attaching under the appropriate Acts is less than it otherwise would be. If he succeeds in ordering them so as to secure this result, then, however unappreciative the Commissioners of Inland Revenue or his fellow tax-payers may be of his ingenuity, he cannot be compelled to pay an increased tax.
Everyone has a legal right to engage in tax avoidance and if the Government want to stamp it out then they should draft better tax laws in the first place rather than blame accountants!