31 January 2013 — Morning Star Online
by Rory MacKinnon Corporate Affairs Reporter
Britain will be robbed of £5.2 billion today as an army of accountants file fiddled tax returns for the rich.
The whopping theft was exposed by charity Oxfam before the HM Revenue & Customs self-assessment deadline hits tonight.
Oxfam calculated that the tax owed on wealth stashed in offshore accounts would be enough to snuff out the entire Con-Dem benefit cuts programme.
The government’s latest benefit cap is set to cost 9.4 million households £180 each.
But if it was collected the capital gains tax on fortunes hidden away in offshore havens would be enough to pay the 9.4m and every other household in Britain £196 every year.
Oxfam director Chris Johnes said the £568m of dodged tax David Cameron wants to recoup by 2016 was “a drop in the ocean” compared with the billions owed.
He said it left “ordinary people to pick up the tab for support and services that we all rely on.
“It is sickening and immoral that tax evaders get off scot-free while thousands of the poorest families are being forced to go to charity food banks in order to provide a meal, or go without heating when it’s freezing outside.
“We must get back all of this lost revenue, not only to help fix our economy but to reverse cuts to support that the most vulnerable need and stop the shame of poor people in Britain going hungry in the 21st century.”
Tax campaign UK Uncut’s Murray Worthy criticised the coalition’s proposed “general anti-abuse rule,” which is set to ignore most tax-dodging and failed to penalise those caught doing so.
He told the Morning Star that the proposal was just a smokescreen designed to deflect public anger.
Capital gains schemes relied on tax havens in Britain‘s protectorates that the PM already had the power to shut down, he said.
Up to £120bn in tax is avoided or evaded each year as a result.
Recent headlines have shown how corporations like Amazon, Starbucks and Ebay used such havens to withhold billions of pounds each.
Mr Worthy said: “Not one of these kinds of scandals would be covered by this rule – it’s just a sop.”