Tax avoidance: a note to editors

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Tax practitioner Noel Hodson has just issued the following notes to editors about the term ‘tax avoidance’:

Most media, even the BBC, persist in quoting notorious professional tax-planners, embedded in the establishment, that “tax avoidance is completely legal”. My 50+ years of practical, hands-on case work tells me that elaborate tax schemes, particularly via the 74 tax-havens are illegal in all OECD and most other tax regions – including the UK.

The people you are taking advice from – probably major law and accountancy firms – have become habituated to fiddling the books – writing false invoices – bending contracts and valuations (e.g. The UK owned Formula One rights that Ecclestone “gave” his now ex-wife in Litchenstein which 24 months later were sold for £2 billion. HMRC have the power to revalue the asset as it left the UK – say at £1.8 billion, which would be taxed).

These major advisers are almost certainly criminally responsible for the schemes they have devised – and then approved as auditors. The media should seek other advice from non-schemers who are not threatened with the immense expense of their schemes since 1980 (Big Bang Soft Touch etc) being found in court to be illicit in tax-law – and with possible jail sentences for fraudulent bookkeeping.

I have written extensively about tax avoidance and evasion on my Blogsite – e.g. see

and today…  (COMMENT – The PR machine for the tax evasion industry still convinces all media and many hapless clients that such schemes are “wholly legal”. But it is most unlikely that they are legal. It is most likely that they are fraudulent – and many are fraudulent-conspiracies. All legitimate profit and money transfers that are tax-deductible in the homeland country require that the transactions are (1) ARMS LENGTH (not from you, to you, by you) (2) ON NORMAL COMMERCIAL TERMS (not exaggerated contracts or values to transfer profits offshore) (3) WHOLLY NECESSARY (for the commercial enterprise) and (4) NOT TO AVOID TAX (not as single or group transactions, devised to reduce homeland taxes). 

A rule of thumb test used by accountants is “Have you been advised to hide your identity from tax collectors at any stage in the chain?” If YES, the transactions are almost certainly illegal and the scheme will fail in court. It is time that the media took some sensible tax advice from experts other than the major tax-planners who, like Arthur Andersen, are and have been criminally complicit in such schemes for 30 years, and might be jailed – as happens to American professional tax schemers.

Yours truly – Noel Hodson
(Tax Reconciliations – From tax-havens to safe-havens)

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