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iobox » Blog Archive » What is “tax avoidance”?
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What is “tax avoidance”?

March 8, 2010 – 12:55 pm

The government and its tax authorities are getting so short of cash that they have developed a special spin language to imply that not paying tax when the rules don’t require it is wrong, verging on immoral. Their key buzz word is “avoidance”, which is their technical mumbo jumbo meaning not paying tax where the law does not require you to pay tax. This is unfortunately (and dare I say deliberately) blurred with “evasion”, which is illegally failing to pay tax.

It could be argued that major accountants “tax planning” divisions shoulder much of the blame for bringing confusion between these two terms - just when a new piece of tax legislation comes along, these firms are quoted the following day with a multitude of ways of avoiding the measure.

As George Orwell knew, language defines the debate. The term “avoidance” plays right into the hands of HMRC. The correct phrase of course is “tax compliance” - it being rather unlikely for the government or HMRC to object to people engaging in “tax compliance”.

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