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The Great Tax Robbery: How Britain Became a Tax Haven for Fat Cats and Big Business Paperback – 7 Mar 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; First Edition edition (7 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851689354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851689354
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.3 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“Richard's contribution to the on-going debate on ensuring that everyone pays their fair share of tax has been immense. This book is required reading for all us who want to see fairness in our taxation system ” - Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee

“This is a 'must read': Richard Brooks exposes the financial immorality of the rich as never before, but what is most horrifying is the extent of government connivance in tax avoidance. The campaign to put things right starts here.”

--Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, authors of bestseller The Spirit Level

“At a time when tax avoidance is riding very high on the political agenda, this book explains in easy-to-understand language how the complexities of artificial tax avoidance have corrupted fair taxation in Britain, and the forces behind it - not only the super-rich and multi-nationals, but government itself as their agent. Written by a former tax inspector who has turned his inside knowledge on the Treasury and politician gamekeepers-turned-poachers, it is detailed and comprehensive - and shocking - whilst also being an enjoyable and wicked read, spiced with scurrilous examples of breath-taking cheating and greed.” - Michael Meacher MP

“A call to arms and a tour de force. It is about time someone explained to all of us what is required if we don't want our country, our cities, and our schools to enter a cycle of decline where paying tax is just for the little people.”

-- Professor Danny Dorling, author of Injustice and So You Think You Know About Britain?

“Richard Brooks exposes the very British scandal in which WE are inflicted with austerity whilst corporations and wealthy individuals are permitted to cart their tax obligations to havens over which the UK government has far more influence than it pretends.” - Jon Snow, anchor, Channel 4 News

“Richard Brooks is a digger and a troublemaker who niggles away at difficult subjects in a meticulous, punchy and highly effective way.”

--Alan Rusbridger, Editor, The Guardian

“Any crowd-pleasing book about tax... would pack its pages with skirmishes between the blood-sucking bureaucrats and the honest toiling folk. The Great Tax Robbery does something much more interesting... Brooks comes into his own: not only does he have a near-encyclopaedic knowledge of anomalies sanctioned by the state, he also has an ear for resonant detail... [a] fascinating book.” - Financial Times

“[An] important new book... By combining case studies with an astute use of data and an examination of tax avoidance in an historical context, Brooks demonstrates that financial amorality is endemic among Britain's elite. The book's greatest success is exposing the complicity of the Government.”

--The Times

‘Richard Brooks makes [the] case fluently with a mass of evidence, and an occasional dash of wit… an informed polemic about the way our world seems to have become more unfair as it has become richer.’ Literary Review

‘Brooks is definitely on to something… fascinating’ Financial Times

 "This year's indispensable book." Nick Cohen, Observer

Review

'A call to arms and a tour de force. It is about time someone explained to all of us what is required if we don't want our country, our cities, and our schools to enter a cycle of decline where paying tax is just for the little people.'

(Danny Dorling - Author of Injustice and So You Think You Know About Britain?)

Customer Reviews

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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on 7 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
Former tax inspector Richard Brooks has written a superb book on how successive governments have turned Britain into a tax haven. The City of London provides unrivalled tax-avoidance services.

In 1979, Thatcher's first act was to abolish exchange controls on capital. Brooks points out, "By limiting offshore movements of funds, exchange controls had prevented companies simply moving large amounts of capital into the world's tax havens where it could turn a quick tax-free buck."

In the late 1990s, the Labour government removed the tax on dividends. In 2000 it cut capital gains tax from 40 per cent to 10. It exempted from tax those profits returned to the UK from overseas subsidiaries. Tax reduction is central to most private equity buyouts, like Boots.

Gordon Brown told the 1996 Labour Party Conference, "A Labour Chancellor will not permit tax reliefs to millionaires in tax havens." There is now an estimated $2.7 trillion hiding in tax havens. In 2002 Brown extended the 10 per cent top rate capital gains tax to gains made after just two years not ten.

He promised the 2005 CBI conference `not just a light touch, but a limited touch ... [to] the regulation of financial services and indeed to the administration of tax'. One of Brown's advisers was Sir Ronald Cohen, founder of the Apax private equity group. Chris Sanger, a partner at Deloitte which boasts of its `global, integrated and innovative Audit, Tax, Consulting and Corporate Finance services', spent four years as special adviser to Brown on tax. The Labour government foolishly merged the Inland Revenue with Customs and Excise.

In 2007, Darling agreed an 18 per cent capital gains tax rate; the top income tax rate is 50 per cent.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Geejay on 30 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"They" being the big 4 accountancy firms, multi-national businesses (like Amazon), big-earning individuals and complicit politicians. The ordinary citizen pays his/her taxes and gets clobbered by HMRC for any transgressions, but if you are a large corporation, like Vodafone, then the head of HMRC will personally sort out any difficulties you have and ensure your liability is as low as possible.

This book is one of the most dispiriting I've read in a long time: the depth of avarice among the filthy rich, the collusion of government and the capitulation of HMRC, all of which are documented by Brooks in enormous detail left me fascinated, horrified and angry. These are individuals and corporations, celebrities, footballers, "captains" of industry, masters of the financial universe, of whom most already have more money than they can spend and yet they want more and will go to great lengths to pay as little tax as they can. The amount of brain power diverted into these schemes which benefit only the top few percent of the population could be put to much better use. Brooks is unrelenting in his exposure of the schemes and the people behind them and the crass stupidity of government together with the appalling behaviour of the former head of HMRC who should have been sacked years ago. It's particularly galling that government and HMRC should be working for the benefit of all citizens and not just the "new few". (see Ferdinand Mount)

This tax robbery, where the rest of us end up paying more than we should, far more than we pay for benefits cheats, is part of a greater social movement initiated by the Reagan/Thatcher revolution and continued by their spiritual successors Blair and Brown. It's philosophy can be summed up in one word: Greed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By MS on 21 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this book down even though the further I read the more steam was coming out of my ears. To read that HMRC was doing "deals" with the likes of Vodafone et al to minimise or eliminate their obligations to tax whilst it seems the rest of us have to pay our taxes and get on with it, was difficult to bear at times. The reality is that the "big boys" simply threaten to leave the country if they are forced to part with tax with the implication being that they will fire everyone on their payroll, and hence leave the Government with an unemployment issue. In fact, ,as we all know, they won't do anything of the sort. I have no doubt that the status quo will remain and the authorities will continue to turn a blind eye. An excellent book, very well researched and written.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Bass Boy on 7 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a book about corporate tax avoidance and how HMRC lets big companies and wealthy individuals get away with it. Surely it would therefore be rather ironic to buy it from Amazon who are not exactly innocent in such matters. Also, I am pleased to report, you can get it cheaper from the book people (dot co dot uk).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John-Paul Lane on 20 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book peels back some of the veneer of respectability often used to explain tax arrangements by corporations and other high net worth individuals. Some parts of the book are heavy reading / dry but ultimately the key message of the need to reform taxation laws so that all participants in society pay their fair share of tax is well worth reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert B. Franks on 4 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you think that paying tax is an intrusion into your personal liberty then this book will be a small comfort. If you think everyone should pay a fair share of government expenditure for the common good, then you will find the content an outrage.
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