Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Ending the UK's biggest tax rort

The UK is going to the polls next month, and Labour's Ed Miliband has finally offered a genuinely left-wing policy among all the promises of even harsher austerity and harder kicking of the poor: eliminating the UK's biggest tax rort: "non-dom" tax status:

Ed Miliband will promise to end a colonial-era symbol of inequity in the tax system by announcing that, if he wins the election, he will abolish the non-domicile rule that allows many of Britain’s richest permanent residents to avoid paying tax in the UK on their worldwide income.

Labour will say the rule, introduced by William Pitt the Younger in the late 18th century, has been wide open to abuse and offends the moral basis of taxation. Everyone who has made the UK their permanent home should pay full UK tax on all their income and gains, he will argue.

In a speech in Warwick on Wednesday, Miliband is expected to say the non-dom rule, believed to be used by more than 110,000 wealthy people in a system unique to the UK, is born of a discredited belief that “anything goes for those at the top and that what is good for the rich is always good for Britain”.

Non-doms pay UK income tax and capital gains tax on their UK sources of income and gains, and whatever income generated overseas they choose to remit to the UK. By contrast, UK domiciles have to pay tax on all of their income and gains, wherever in the world they are made – Britain or overseas.

This isn't about immigrants or permanent residents, but about people born in the UK who pretend to live overseas for tax purposes, based on "links" as tenuous as a foreign newspaper subscription or a grave plot (which can of course simply be purchased). They use this to dodge their taxes while the money piles up, enjoying all the benefits of living in the UK, but none of the costs.

Naturally, the tories are screaming that these people who aren't paying tax in the UK will all flee and not pay tax somewhere else, to which any sensible person would say "good riddance". After all, they're not paying tax, so what's the supposed loss? Their good company? They're sociopathic parasites, and the UK is better off without them.

Meanwhile, on the same day Miliband announces this, he gets endorsed by tax-cheating war criminal Tony Blair. I wonder how many more seats the SNP will get out of that?