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Top ten tax shirkers

George Osborne

George Osborne

The chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne is on the list for his failure to scrap the domicile rule – a tax avoiders’ charter.

It’s important to stress what a person’s domicile is: it’s their place of natural allegiance; the place they consider to be their real home. It’s not about ethnicity, race or nationality. It can fairly be said to be about national origin.

And the absurd fact is that a person arriving in the UK can, for up to seven years, avoid tax on all their income apart from that coming from the UK, or brought to the UK; and after seven years can continue to avoid tax on the rest of their worldwide income for a flat fee of £30,000 a year – the tax that might be due at 50% on just £60,000 of income.

The domicile rule makes the UK a tax haven for wealthy foreigners living here, promotes tax abuse in the City of London and distorts house prices in the south east of England in particular. It increases the wealth gap in the UK enormously and may cost HMRC as much as £3 billion a year in potential lost revenue.

As a tax avoiders’ charter it deserves to be on this list, and to be abolished.

The Guardian, 3 March 2010

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