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on 25 March 2015
Excellent. Read it!
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on 19 June 2015
Vital source.
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on 21 May 2013
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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on 9 August 2013
I just don't have the quality & quantity of words to describe how good it is. It should be made compulsory for all current and future politicians to read it, and make it a setwork book at colleges and universities. We can see from the book why and how the filthy rich corporations (banks included) and individuals get away with tax fraud that the rest of us have to pay for.

I will add a copy of what I wrote to the local newspaper (The Orcadian) to help describe its contents:

"Dear Editor,

I came to read the book called "The Great Tax Robbery: How Britain Became a Tax Haven for Fat Cats and Big Business", and found myself wondering why it is that we have failed to hold our government to account. What has happened to society, that it finds collecting Tesco points far more important than looking at the unjustifiably low tax Tesco is paying? And yet the public has to make up the shortfall on tax collection from such large corporations. Tesco is only one many large corporations with its snout in the tax-evasion trough, yet it will take a newspaper to court for publishing details inaccurately of its pigging out.

While most of us are obliged to pay tax exactly as decreed, "our" government fails stupendously in applying the rules for collection equitably, resulting in inequitably higher taxation for the rest of us (middle income classes and below), besides wasting and misappropriating huge amounts of our tax money (such as publicly unauthorised donations to other countries; charity beginning elsewhere, not at home). Even legal enforcements have become skewed in favour of big business, thereby corrupting the legal system.

Even up until 2008, tax inspectors were awarded higher levels of promotion for loyalty to senior management, not ability. Senior management, in turn, wanted the tax inspectors not to delve too deeply into the accounting of the big corporations who were grooming the senior managers to conform to lower tax requirements wanted by the corporations. All this takes place with the softly-softly approach to big business from political parties being fed with donations from big businesses wanting government to give them concessions.

Even as recent as August 2011, to quote from The Great Tax Robbery, page 201: "(in the week) that PM David Cameron promised Britain's rioting feral underclass `we will track you down, we will find you and we will punish you', and magistrates jailed a youth for stealing £3 worth of water, it was with a special kind of upper-class insensitivity that the Prime Minister's fellow Bullingdonian* George Osborne granted immunity from prosecution to the feral financial classes who were looting the economy of billions." [* A word derived from "Bullingdon", an exclusive dining club at Oxford.]

Today's government philosophy is to be (big) business-friendly in its tax collection, but it does so without heeding the observation made by Adam Smith some 235 years earlier, which is:

"The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce that comes from this order (of businesses), ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but most suspicious intention. It (businesses) comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, deceived and oppressed it." [Ibid. Page 194]

So I ask the rhetorical question, what is new about modern business since the time of Adam Smith? Besides the obvious answer, what I see as new is that modern technology is simply speeding up the takings - from public to business - and economists are being groomed worldwide in higher education to see big business as "manna from heaven", and are advising governments worldwide in this regard. It is now wrongly believed that "small" is not beautiful.

In Britain, the most experienced tax collectors have gradually left their employment, to be replaced with inexperienced inspectors who were the equivalent of M·o·D pen-pushers, with no experience in combat, being appointed as generals, marshals and admirals. They don't stand a chance against the army of highly experienced corporate accountants and lawyers forcing them to make tax avoidance concessions. The Head of Revenue until recently, Dave Hartnet, had become autocratic, as well as choosing to surround himself with yes-men, which further isolated him from understanding what was happening in the latest developments of corporate tax evasion. (Ibid. Paraphrased from various passages)

It is ironic that some thirty years ago, the then Treasury chief secretary, Peter Rees, remarked that "the rules for controlling foreign companies (in such matters as tax collection) will make it more attractive for their businesses to take a profit in Britain than overseas. These measures will be good for business, good for enterprises, and good for jobs." Today's government has the opposite mindset, deregulating control to attract foreign companies, yet this is why many of today's big businesses are taking their jobs elsewhere: to evade taxation as allowed by current deregulation rules. (An irony, thanks again to Margaret Thatcher's ghost, and explained in great detail in The Great Tax Robbery)

There is also the fallacious argument that corporations like Tesco are able to sell things to us cheaply because of the low taxes they pay. I retort by saying that if Tesco paid their full taxes, we, the public could be paying less tax, making it still affordable to buy the things that Tesco might then have to sell at higher prices (after tax). Besides which, the playing field would be more level for all competitors in the same business as Tesco, allowing us to support smaller local businesses (who could also be paying less tax because the big corporations will have paid their full, equitable tax). Take note, Orkney, this applies to you as well.

It would need a brave, new government to make right the wrong. Has anyone seen such potential?

Yours truly,

E_ S_"
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on 1 June 2015
Everyone must have had some exposure to what is in this book. But unless you have read it, I doubt if you have any idea as to the scale of the problem. Tax evasion/avoidance has become colossal and has become the norm among big business. Samuel Johnson – ‘Where secrecy or mystery begins, vice or roguery is not far off.’ The scale of tax avoidance is so great the public are not permitted to know the details. I wonder why. The government is committed to use the full weight of the law to make sure you don’t find out.
This book is remarkably up to date. The most galling thing is that we are in no position to agree or disagree with anything said in this book. It’s all very technical and very secret. Whistle-blowers are threatened with prosecution.
As much as I would love every member of the public to read this book, it is pointless if it is your intention to keep voting for any of the main UK political parties.
This book is for the cynic who sees the world as corrupt from top to bottom.
For a member of the public who wants to find out just how corrupt the world really is, this book allows you to see just one small facet of the problem. ‘The Establishment’ by Owen Jones. ‘Debt, the first 5000 years’ by David Graeber. ‘The Bubble and Beyond’ by Michael Hudson. ‘The Shock Doctrine’ by Naomi Kline. ‘Fuel on the Fire’ by Greg Muttitt. And lets not forget Noam Chomsky, will provide additional contributions to your understanding. Each book provides a tiny insight to the horrendous levels of sociopathic corruption of the ruling classes.
This book is highly recommended.
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on 10 February 2014
This book is a relatively short summary of how big business and very rich individuals can use tax avoidance to minimise their tax bills. This involves overseas jurisdictions, offshore comapnies and imaginative accounting which saddles all the profit in low tax areas and all the costs and losses in high tax areas. I didn't know that Johny Walker Whiskey was a Dutch company for tax purposes. The Scottish operation pays the Dutch Holding Company a fortune for advice, patents and technical support -- this is recorded in the accounts of the Scottish company and set off against UK tax whilst the Dutch holding company receives all the reevnues and guesss what? It only pays less than 10% in tax.

It is a shame that these tax avoidance specialists don't put half of their brain power into solving the world's busines problems rather than avoiding tax -perhaps everyone would be in a better place if they did.

The benfiy scroungers are pilloried in public but those who set up transactions purely to avoid paying tax are heralded as some kind of heroes. Technically these moves are not illegal in many cases but actually the aim of a long list of transactions is purely to avoid tax and not to create any commercial value at all.

All very disappointing and also this does not benefit our economy only the very riches people and companies are better off. Those who can afford the tax advice.
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on 3 June 2013
A detailed account of tax dodging and the duplicity of successive governments afraid of being perceived as business unfriendly. The result has unfairly favoured wealthy individuals and companies and emasculated the tax authorities. "Only the little people pay taxes" as the New York heiress Leona Helmsley is purported to have said. Richard Brooks proposes solutions at the end of a remarkable book. Prepare to be angry.
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on 23 January 2015
Written by a former tax inspector, this book is an informative and unanswerable account of the various practices by which large corporations ands wealthy individuals avoid paying a just amount of tax. Both major parties are responsible for the current position but there seems to be little likelihood of the current situation being rectified, even though the vast majority of the population will feel that wrongdoing is taking place.

There could be a couple of difficulties any action would face. If large poltical donations were ended, then public money would be required to fill the gap. If the tax authorities ended the avoidance methods employed by many top footballers, would fans happily see the star names go elsewhere? Unless international action is taken there are no easy answers.

A book that should be read by politicians in a position to put things right and all the rest of the see how we are being shafted by the greedy and wealthy people at the top.
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on 30 September 2013
A book to show who the real cheats in our society are. Makes those on benefits look like comparative simpletons. If you work hard and pay your taxes then don't read this as it will make you disillusioned. While Amazon, Starbucks, and Google hit the headlines they were just the tip of the iceberg.

A recommended book for all readers of the Daily Mail. They may get to see the world as it is and not the twisted truths that is their usual fodder.
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on 13 July 2013
I need to buy a copy for myself. Any reduced copies out there for my research would be appreciated. I tell has many people as I can about this book. If I had the money. I would hand out a hundred of them every week free to people.
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