The serious point here is not about individuals avoiding their tax in what must ritualistically be termed an entirely legal way. The central question is how in the name of all the saints, but particularly that tax collector St Matthew, it is legal at all. A while ago, George Osborne described “aggressive” tax avoidance as “morally repugnant”. Perhaps the Chancellor has performed another of his nifty U-turns on the sly, but, according to the K2 mountaineer taped by The Times, circumnavigating tax is as easy as ever.
The only credible explanation for this failure is lack of political desire… a sort of wilful blindness, to borrow the phrase routinely applied to senior News International management, to practices which simply cannot be that hard to outlaw. If the Government chose, it could legislate next month to ensure that every ha’penny of self-employed income is taxed at normal rates; and that if philanthropists like Mr Carr wish to loan money to a film production company, they do so out of earned income in the traditional commercial way, offsetting any losses against future income if the company were to go bust.
The other side of this is all the luvvies gagging for their tax subsidy.
British Films and Tax Relief
The BFI is the national body in charge of the qualification of British films. Films can qualify as British in one of three ways. They must meet the requirements of one of the following:
* The Cultural Test
* One of the UK’s official bilateral co-production treaties
* The European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production
For more information about the certification unit and the different ways productions can qualify as British, please visit the dedicated page on the BFI Certification Unit website.
Etc etc blah blah blah.
You cannot abolish this sort of tax avoidance unless you also abolish the tax reliefs.
Now me, I’m just fine with that. Low tax rates with minimal or no allowances and reliefs. Bring it on. It’s everyone else who thinks that the government should play favourites with hte tax system and subsidies which gives room for the tax avoidance.
And guess what? The film tax breaks have just been extended to TV shows! Carr could lend himself his own money and get the tax relief now!