How the Rich Beat the Taxman

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How do the rich avoid paying tax and protect their fortunes? Dispatches reveals the clever devices they use.

With more than 20 millionaires in the cabinet, reporter Antony Barnett examines the financial affairs of some ministers and others who have helped the coalition.
George Osborne says ‘we’re all in this together’ but are ministers and top Tories paying the same rates of tax as the rest of us?

Barnett visits a number of offshore tax havens around the world still under control of Britain, including the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, to find out more about tax avoidance ploys.

How the Rich Beat the Taxman, 8.0 out of 10 based on 21 ratings

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  • John88

    My father ran a successful UK software company and had seven figure remuneration packages for a few years before selling the company to an American firm for over 100 million.

    KPMG were the company accountants and one day they said to him, without having been asked to do any thing of the sort, that they had worked out how he could restructure his income and legally pay no tax whatsoever.  In return KPMG asked to charge him 2% of all his earnings and would guarantee that if the taxman came back with any charges then KPMG would pay for them.

    My dad is/was a socialist and said he wasn`t interested and ended up paying the (at the time) 40% top rate on all his earnings.

    However Gordon Brown, during his time as Chancellor, had cut the capital gains tax on private company shares, as an “incentive to small business”.  So dad only paid 10% tax when he sold his shares in the company.  The company was started before the tax cut and no extra financing occurred, the lost 30 million or so by doing this from this one example.

    I wonder who lobbied the govt for this change and benefitted from it?

    Now my mum is a bit more devious and has allowed her accountants to make her investments more “tax efficient” as they say.  I was shocked to learn that she was paid by thegovt one year for making some silly investments in small pubs that earned her some huge tax credit……

    This was all done by a Labour government that supposedly represented the working people, then shafted them with a tax hike from 10 to 20% on the minimum wage…. 

    I can only imagine things carry on getting worse under the condem coalition.

    I live outside of the UK now and live in a so called “third world” country where the common people live with a better standard of living than in the UK because here the government subsidises petrol and cooking gas so that transport is cheap and that makes everything else cheap.  Most people don´t pay tax except for VAT, which is a tax on consumption and not earnings, income tax only kicks in on those who make double the average wage and even then is very low.

    Most people live on U$300 a month, around 2400 quid a year here but live better than people making 20k in the UK… 

    • Jackmeoff

      Are you in Thailand? I am.

      • Coopy

         
        Jack, since when is Thailand a “third world country”?

        educate yourself Son…

    • Theremustbeanotherway

      John88, your father was a decent man. No doubt he appreciated all those that had helped him on the way. It’s a shame there aren’t many more like you father. If there were, we wouldn’t be in the current economic mess.

  • Quark

    The truth is wealth trickles down.

    Just ask your daughter…..

    • Theremustbeanotherway

      Across generations yes…..the rest is just “horse and sparrow” economics

  • zenidea

    If this is true legal or illegal no difference, theft is theft.

  • juan petro

    Thailand is a 3rd world country, educate yourself. If thailand is not a 3rd world country you’d then 3rd world countries basically do not exist. The typical 3rd world country is like thailand, a lowly developed major city or industrial/tourist area, whereas the rest of the country is in rural poverty, like China. Shanghai has wealth like any western city, but rural china is so poor, compared to rural 1st world countries.

  • VanPastorMan

    John, I think about your Dad and how many jobs were created because of the company he started. In my view he has made wonderful contributions to your society. What is fair as far as how much tax someone must pay to the govt? I don’t know if I can put a number on it. Perhaps a 15% flat tax would be appropriate. This way the rich don’t have to play games, and the govt doesn’t have to try to figure out how to get them.

    • Theremustbeanotherway

      Ultimately you can’t put a percentage on it …the rich will still want to avoid paying it.