The Paradise Papers show tax avoiders thrive by exploiting legal loopholes, at the expense of a state they refuse to contribute to. This rotten system must be replaced
In the coming days, you will hear this response from the defenders of our rotten status quo. “What the Paradise Papers has exposed is legal, so what is the problem?” They have an agenda, of course. They want to demonise the very concept of taxation because they want to roll back the state and construct a free-market “utopia” which, in practical terms, would be dystopian for the vast majority.
Let’s unpick this argument. Using sophisticated loopholes to avoid tax on an industrial scale is a choice, a conscious decision, that an individual or business has to take. Many choose not to. Lewis Hamilton was born safely in Lister Hospital in Stevenage, courtesy of the state-funded NHS. He was then educated by the state at great expense. Throughout his life, he has used state-funded roads and rail tracks, has been protected by the state’s police forces and fire brigades, and no doubt employed the services of accountants who used their state-funded university degrees to locate loopholes in the tax system for him. He has repaid his gratitude to his country by choosing to avoid paying European taxes on his £16.5m jet.