STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Britain's Tax Fugitives Program Should be Seen Within a Larger Aggressive Ambit
By Staff News & Analysis - August 16, 2012

HMRC publishes mugshots of 20 most wanted tax fugitives for first time … The names and faces of 20 most wanted "tax fugitives" who owe HM Revenue and Customs more than £700m are being published for the first time today. Plans published by Treasury minister David Gauke on Monday "to crack down on the promoters of aggressive, contrived tax avoidance schemes." HMRC has decided to publish the FBI-style list of mugshots to try to enlist the support of the public in tracking them down. The names on the Most Wanted list are described as "tax criminals who have absconded after being charged with a crime or during trial." – UK Telegraph

Dominant Social Theme: Not paying your fair share is morally wrong.

Free-Market Analysis: What's going on with Britain these days? As with America, its top government officials are getting increasingly aggressive when it comes to projecting power overseas.

Now they're going to distribute "most wanted" posters of tax cheats. Being this is the 21st century, a lot of the distribution will take place electronically. Apparently, it's enough to be simply charged with a crime (see article excerpt above).

It's not just taxes; it's everything … That's the bigger concern.

This is a new century but Western nation-states are increasingly acting as if citizens' rights had not been gorily established throughout the preceding centuries. Governing officials in both America and England have basically proclaimed that it is within the rights of the state to hold certain people indefinitely without trial and even to torture them.

America, especially, is projecting military and civil policing force abroad. The FBI has expanded without public debate into 90 countries around the world and the US taxing authorities are trying to figure out ways to confiscate passports of those the IRS deems tax cheats – but without due process.

The aggressiveness of the US has already been noted, of course, in its unrelenting efforts to demand that overseas banks act as a tax collection agency for the IRS, withholding up to one-third of individual US incomes if the citizen worked abroad and used a given bank.

For this reason, more and more banks abroad won't accept US customers. Or if they do accept them they are increasingly invasive, demanding that US customers prove every bit of their income under the justification that such income might be derived from illegal sources.

Britain is seemingly trying to do a good imitation of the US. It is asserting tax authority worldwide in ways it never has before. And now, when it comes to the suspicions (versus certainty) of tax guilt British authorities are nonetheless willing to circulate a global notice of tax delinquency and criminality.

It's surely a dominant social theme of sorts, however. Such memes are constructed and promoted by a power elite that wants to run the world – formally as opposed to informally – and apparently intends to do so in the 21st century. Here's some more from the article:

It is the first time that HMRC has published photographs and details of tax fugitives. David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary, said: "The Government is absolutely committed to tackling tax evasion and fraud.

"These criminals have collectively cost the taxpayer over £765m and HMRC will pursue them relentlessly. "We hope that publishing their pictures in this way will enable members of the public to contribute to the effort to catch them." …

The Government is committed to cracking down on those who try to dodge their responsibility to pay tax and has invested over £900m in HMRC in order to raise an additional £7bn each year in tax revenue.

Government officials are not merely becoming more aggressive when it comes to pursuing those who they believe owe taxes. British authorities also intend to "to force accountants to hand over the names of millionaires who use complex schemes to avoid paying their fair share of tax."

In other words, if you are trying a novel tax strategy, its very complexity could place an affirmative burden on the accountant to turn in the client. We can see from this strategy that British authorities are determined to enforce a perspective that discourages individuals from exercising lawful rights to develop tax perspectives that are imaginative but within the law. In fact, a new application of law is now being developed "on the ground."

Henceforth, in Britain, legitimate but complex efforts to minimize tax payments, ones that might well be seen as legal, will be treated as criminal offenses, whether or not they are. If this seems questionable, it is only part of a much wider net that British authorities are casting. Already Britain itself is getting a reputation as a venue that top athletes and other celebrities don't want to approach.

This Olympic season, the "fastest man on the planet," Usain Bolt, made news for his stated intention not to compete in Britain until its tax laws changed. In fact, he only attended the Olympics because English officials put a temporary hold on the tax laws Bolt and others were concerned about.

Here's something from a Wall Street Journal article on the issue:

As the post-Olympics glow fades, U.K. policy makers are trying to figure out how to keep the flame of British sports burning. They could start by changing Her Majesty's tax laws. After Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won his third gold in London last week, reporters asked him why he doesn't compete in the U.K. more often. "As soon as the law changes I'll be here all the time," he said.

Punitive tax policy had kept the world's fastest man from competing in Blighty for the past three years. Explaining Mr. Bolt's decision to skip a 2010 race in London, his agent told reporters: "He will earn a lot less by competing in Britain if he maintains his current endorsement level." Mr. Bolt competed in Paris that August instead.

Few high earners in other fields would choose France over Britain on tax policy, but athletes are a different story. The British government has granted an exemption to income linked to Olympic and Paralympic competition. But normally Britain takes a cut of an athlete's worldwide endorsement earnings—that means overseas sponsors in addition to those in the U.K.—proportional to the time spent in Britain. By comparison, the U.S. only taxes nonresident athletes on endorsement fees paid by American sponsors. France does the same.

So if in a given year Mr. Bolt ran in six races, one of which was in Britain, Her Majesty's government could collect income tax on one-sixth of his total income from sponsorships. Given that Mr. Bolt's contract with Puma alone is worth $9 million annually, the final U.K. tax bill for a single London race could dwarf his appearance fee, which has been in the range of $150,000 to $250,000.

Notice that Britain is merely asserting its claim to "take a cut" of an athlete's worldwide endorsement earning if the athlete so much as steps foot on British soil.

Were this aberrant behavior we'd find it less remarkable. But once again, as with America, it seems like something deeper is going on. It is something that should be seen within the context of the wars that NATO is fighting in Africa and the Middle East and the general projection of force that is taking place around the world.

Ever since the Peace of Westphalia was abrogated in the UN in 2005, Western powers have been getting more invasive abroad. They are using a "responsibility to protect" clause that virtually allows the UN Security Committee to target almost any country at any time. Syria is getting the treatment now. Libya did.

The idea, as we have pointed out many times, is to create an Islamic crescent arc that will provide the West with an increased number of countries that are putatively Islamic Republics and thus apt to be inimical to Western interests. In this way the phony "war on terror" can be expanded.

It doesn't hurt, as we also predicted, that the Muslim Brotherhood, penetrated thoroughly by the CIA, would be the proxy vehicle of choice to advance this sort of directed history.

The target of these manipulations, while initially countries being attacked, is actually the populations of the West. Every permutation of the war on terror brings further repression at home.

The advancement of the war on terror, with its chilling repercussions for freedom at home, should be seen in conjunction with overseas efforts to advance taxing and banking authority abroad.

It would seem incontrovertible that this is more than a series of random coincidences. There is a policy behind it, an animating intelligence that is providing a rationale for projections of power around the world.

After Thoughts

One can look at these efforts separately or one can embrace them as a whole. If one regards these scenarios in the latter manner, then a pattern can be easily discerned. It is one we've commented on for years and was a foundational aspect of the founding of this publication.

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