Jimmy Carr – The Artful Tax Dodger

Sixty-six percent of the Guardian’s poll stated that Jimmy Carr was morally wrong to play his taxes the way he did.  Morally wrong, well, what do you think? I would agree, but he is a comedian and has said a plethora of immoral things in his career, but we all laughed heartily at that.  “But it’s not illegal to speak your mind and say how you feel.., but dodging tax is, and it’s against the law!” But it is against the law to incite racial violence or to say things which could become libelous, so then free of speech has been impeded, you see how difficult it is to know where the line is drawn.

Jimmy Carr has been using an off-shore Jersey scheme to funnel the amount he pays in tax in the UK. It is not illegal, but has been heavily condemned by David Cameron who sees it as ‘morally corrupt’. The Prime Minister has allegedly started to put together a set of new laws that will stop this ‘safe-haven’ system.

But another issue concerns Take That singer – Gary Barlow who has also been keen to avoid the tax man by putting money into a similar Jersey ‘K2’ scheme.  A donor to the Conservative party, there has been little light on this signer who was very prominent during the Jubilee celebrations and was even awarded an OBE for his efforts (for which now there have been calls for him to return it).  Mr David Cameron has not been so keen to berate him as he has been to tear into Jimmy Carr.  Why, because if you start looking into who proudly donates to the Tory party and pays less that the required amount of tax then the numbers could rise quite high. Labour stalwart, Dennis Skinner demanded a list of those politicians closet to David Cameron to publicly show how, when and where they pay their taxes.  Ed Miliband has remarked that he thinks politicians should avoid giving the public lessons on morality and instead put in place laws, but it is still the responsibility of these elected so-and-so’s to lead by example, rather than ‘do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do.’ If they cannot be the ones who lead our society by the morals they set out then we really are fucked!

OK Jimmy Carr should have paid his taxes, everybody should, everybody should pay their fair share.  Such speakers as Will Self came out months ago when the whole debacle over the reduction of the higher tax bracket was in the news. He believed that someone with his level of wealth should help out those less well-off in society.  So it would have been morally right for Jimmy to have done the same, but he didn’t break the law.  The line between tax evasion and avoidance is clear, one is knowingly disclosing false figures to HMRC and the other is setting up a charity or off-shore fund where you receive substantial tax breaks.  Jimmy Carr just showed that if you have money, you can find those who can find those little holes to avoid paying less.  His career will possibly take a slight sip, but he will ride it out because it is not his responsibility to demonstrate a high degree of morals to the public, we have our politicians for that.  And it should be the politicians who seal up all the holes that have let these wealthy individuals get away with paying as little as 1% tax.