Tax Law

Taxation & Morality: Odd Bedfellows

There is a public opinion poll for just about everything these days. I recently stumbled across a U.K. poll on corporate taxes and morality. Here we have two subjects that don't necessarily seem connected ... or are they?

In the survey 66% of respondents said tax avoidance was immoral. The poll was conducted by ComRes and commissioned by the advocacy group Christian Aid. You can
read more detail about the poll here. British accountant and economist Richard Murphy further discusses the poll here.The results imply that a majority of Britons now consider lawful tax planning, aimed at minimizing a firm's effective tax rate, as crossing a moral boundary. Note that we're speaking here of (legal) tax avoidance rather than (illegal) tax evasion. Presumably the percentage of respondents who consider tax evasion immoral would be much closer to 100%.


Personally, I've always taken the view that if you're going to start drawing judgmental lines in the sand, the resulting distinctions should be based on legality. That appeals to my sensibility because illegal conduct is, in theory, objectively identifiable and thus avoidable...


View Robert Goulder's opinion in its entirety on the taxanalysts® Blog.

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