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Jimmy Carr’s tax planning

“If you want others to pay more tax, then you should be consistent and pay as much as you possibly can yourself – you should even consider paying more than you have to by making a donation to HMRC or to government-owned institutions, such as NHS trusts. Those who believe taxes are moral in of themselves – a commitment to the common good – should practice what they preach. Yet if the allegations of massive, albeit legal, avoidance involving Carr are right – he hasn’t denied them – a man who specialises in ridiculing others, often in the cruellest of ways, may now end up as the butt of others’ jokes.”

Allister Heath,
talking about Jimmy Carr, a stand-up comedian with a flair for tax planning. Heath’s solution: a simple, low, flat-rate tax that everyone pays, should be embraced. The only people who will suffer are tax lawyers and accountants, who may find they have to do something rather more productive instead. (In case anyone objects, I am a minarchist, not an anarchist, so some way of financing the most minimally-necessary state functions needs to be found).


“The real joy is that these people are all Lefties of the worst sort. I don’t just mean they’re pompous, preachy and self-satisfied – God knows, the Right has a few of those as well. I mean they’re the most glaring kind of hypocrite, denouncing their enemies as not just wrong but evil, while committing the sins they rail against. It’s like those class crusaders – Polly Toynbee, Diane Abbott – who send their children to private schools: by their own behaviour, they forfeit any claim to be taken seriously. It may seem gratuitous to rejoice in their downfall, but the moralising morons have fashioned the rods for their own backs. It would be positively rude not to take a thwack or two.”

Robert Colville.

Okay, another update, from Jamie Whyte, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

“For those Brits who complain that Mr. Carr is not paying enough towards their state-provided services are not really motivated by moral principles. They simply want Mr. Carr’s money. And Mr. Cameron wants their votes. Their outcries are not the sound of moral indignation. They are the howls of frustrated predators.”

10 comments to Jimmy Carr’s tax planning

  • Gareth

    The only people who will suffer are tax lawyers and accountants …

    and politicians who would lose a whole slew of levers to pull on how we live our lives.

  • It is an abuse of position for the Prime Minister to comment on the tax affairs of individuals.

    It was also politically stupid – Cameron’s laid himself open to endless requests for comment on the tax affairs of Tory donors.

    Whatever one’s position on whether we should have tax at all, if we are to have it then it ought to be simple. That ought to be common ground right along the spectrum – from those who want a tax rate of 0% but 1% will do as a transitional arrangement to those left wingers who favour most of the economy being in the hands of the state. Some honest left wingers and statists do indeed argue for a simple system, where the question of how much tax we should pay would be out in the open and obvious to all.

    However the complexity of the current system is of great assistance to dishonest left wingers and statists (which is most of them, I am afraid) as it allows them to tax by stealth, and, as Gareth said above, to push people around while feeling they are doing them good.

  • What Natalie said. BBC radio has been reporting all day how Jimmy Carr has apologised for his lack of judgement. Never is there any suggestion that tax avoidance is anything other than exactly as immoral as David Cameron said it was.

  • llamas

    Point of order – how did Mr Carr’s tax arrangements become public knowledge in the first place?

    Did he volunteer this information, or was it ‘leaked’? If it was (and I surely suspect that it was, but that’s why I’m asking), then somebody, somewhere did something which may very well be a crime, or at the very least a dreadful breach of professional ethics (depending on who it was).

    But Mr Carr is the one who has to grovel in apology?

    Truly, the world has gone mad, when the amount of tax a person should pay has now become a decision to be made by the press and the mob.



  • Charlie

    Funny if on the next 8 of 10 Cats, Sean Lock mentions this and we find only 3% of the people are talking about it.

  • llamas,

    If Jimmy Carr operates as a company, would his financial records not be public?

  • Do we know that Jimmy Carr is a lefty? He doesn’t crowbar reflexive anti-Conservatism or anti-Thatcherism into his act like most TV comedians do. He is on record as not wanting to shove his political views down his audience’s throats — which could mean just that but could also of course mean that he doesn’t want his political views on display because of the reaction of his peer group. Since most comedians can’t wait to let you know just how very socialist they are, Carr’s reluctance may tell us something.

    Plus he spends a significant amount of time going to visit injured servicemen. Not that a lefty can’t do that, but, you know.

    This may not be a case of hypocrisy.

  • The Jannie

    Shouldn’t our esteemed leader be apologising, too? After all it’s HMRC and/or the politicos who created a tax system in which the hilarious Mr Carr was able to do whatever he’s done.

  • RW

    The issue is not one of morality. It is a question of whether we have a legal system in which everything not explicitly forbidden is allowed, or alternatively whether everything not explicitly permitted is illegal. Since our system is the former, then limiting tax avoidance is a matter of sensibly drafting tax legislation.

    That said, some of the film partnership legislation was so deeply flawed that it lent itself to immoral abuse. Gordon B’s response – for he was responsible – was to make some tax changes retroactive – a dangerous precedent.

    As to the Lefties, I wholeheartedly agree that there are no troughers so self-righteous as Lefties given the opportunity. My favourite personal example was a union shop steward on a course I once ran, who had just been done over by the Inland Revenue for having his 85-year old granny on the payroll. Such outrage!

  • Paul Marks

    Even I did not expect Mr David Cameron to be so blatently disgusting as he has been in this case.