By Nizar Manek, 13 August 2010
In this current state of ‘austerity’, with a proliferating tax avoidance industry whose reason for existence it is to creatively exploit the ever-complicating fiscal spaghetti of taxing statutes – the new loopholes for avoidance which inevitably arise upon construction of new legislation, Benjamin Franklin would of course be wrong in his conclusion on certainty, that: “In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes”.
Of the certainty deemed necessary for tax legislation, it is well acknowledged that it necessarily makes revenue collection increasingly uncertain. Contrived avoidance schemes follow in the wake of specifically targeted legislation: tax law followed to the letter. Abuse of Low Value Consignment Relief, an EU tax relief on goods exported from the Channel Islands, for instance, results in a VAT loss of over 110 million pounds per year. We might consider a proverb of Sir Francis Bacon: “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties”.