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Intellectual pursuit of tax avoidance

On reading the Opinion column in the July 20 edition of Money Marketing, I really could not resist responding – if only for the sake of my blood pressure.

I don’t know whether your usual acuity was abandoned in favour of political correctness or if you had a sudden attack of naivety.

Of course, Governments do not like IFAs, particularly those Governments which are, like this one, control freaks. Your point about distribution is valid but it goes further. It is the nature of an IFA to help their clients navigate round intrusive and unedifying Government strictures.

Examples can be found in your own publications quite regularly – tax minimisation, state benefits maximisation, pension advice, the list is endless. In the case of stakeholder, it was not only distribution failings, some of us were actually proactive in advising our corporate clients how to avoid it. (For a fee, of course.)

Our ground is particularly fertile with this present Government, which cannot resist heaping up legislation and meddling interminably. There is, therefore, a direct correlation between Governments of this hue and their antipathy towards us.

By their very nature, those who want to control as many facets of our daily life as possible are – whether they protest against it or not – anti-competitive and even Stalinist while those who advocate the lighter touch are more inclined to be true capitalists.

Another vague truism is that those who have money usually legislate money matters better than those without. Unfortunately, New (and Old) Labour has fewer with a measure of wealth – the results are plain for all to see. Rather like having a Minister of Transport who can’t drive. (Remember Barbara Castle?)

They fear us making fools of them and they loathe us because we highlight their shortcomings. For our part, we know only too well that the avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that still carries any reward (acknowledgements to J M Keynes).

Harry Katz
Norwest Consultants
Stanmore, Middlesex

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