Socialist Worker

Tax avoidance is sky high

by Tom Walker
Issue No. 2298

A millionaire Tory donor slept in the air in his private jet —to avoid paying tax.

Rich “non-doms” are supposed to pay tax in Britain if they are resident here for more than 90 full days in the country.

But Sarah Southern, the lobbyist at the centre of the Tories’ cash-for-access scandal, let slip that the donor regularly slept “outside Britain” on his jet.

“I love that 90 days thing,” she told undercover reporters. “Because it’s a full day.

“I know someone who will sometimes get on his jet and fly out and fly back in after midnight. So he’s not been there for a whole day.”

She added that the fat cat pulled the trick up to three times a week—as he is so wealthy that it was worth taking flights to nowhere to avoid the tax.


There has been a flurry of stories this week about politicians’ tax. But few have targeted the real dodgers.

Tory chancellor George Osborne, for example, gave a carefully-worded answer about whether he earns enough to pay his new, lower 45p rate of tax.

He said, “No doubt, next time I fill in a return, I will be asked the question and will give you a straightforward answer then.”

He added that he was he was “shocked” to discover that some of the richest people in Britain have used tax avoidance schemes.

Most of Osborne’s £4 million wealth is held in an offshore trust fund.

Meanwhile it was revealed that online shopping giant Amazon generated sales of £7.6 billion over three years—but did not pay any corporation tax on the profits.

Ownership of the firm was transferred to a Luxembourg company in 2006. All payments for books, DVDs and other goods go directly to Luxembourg.

The business in Britain is classified purely as an “order fulfilment” business.

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Tue 10 Apr 2012, 18:20 BST
Issue No. 2298
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