France and Germany seek to plug tax loopholes exploited by Apple, other tech firms

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 48
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,339member
    For all those bashing the EU for being inferior to separate nations:   You need to remember that European nations have been warring with each since the Roman Empire collapsed.   The EU is an effort to work together rather than fight one another.   There's no guarantee that it will work -- it largely depends on execution rather than design.  But, we know that the other way simply leads to war after war after war....   It's profitable for a few, but most object to having their kids killed.
    Thank you. This is why the EU has been such a success and it's one of the reasons that is so undervalued. The rest are plusses. It's a project, and for decades the vast majority of members of the union have supported the union. Now, with Brexit and the French elections, their seems to have been a resurgence in pro-EU sentiment.


    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 22 of 48
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,339member
    steven n. said:
    avon b7 said:
    YvLy said:
    Quote: The Irish case however is completely different in that the Irish government contravened existing EU law in undercutting fellow member states with favourable tax deals. --- Wrong. When I moved to Ireland (1991) the Irish already had tax laws aimed at persuading companies from the IT sector to set up business there. That was long before the Euro (1995) and long before the European Parliament had any real power. (Back then even smoking was allowed in planes.)The fact is: NOBODY can be blamed, not APPLE, neither the IRISH, nor the European Parliament. Its simply that times are changing .... and so do laws. I doubt that a back-payment will ever be enforced ...
    Quote: The Irish case however is completely different in that the Irish government contravened existing EU law in undercutting fellow member states with favourable tax deals. --- Wrong."

    It isn't 'wrong'. The EU is claiming that the Irish government gave 'what amounts to illegal state aid'. Of course that would imply that other member states were put at a disadvantage. This based on existing EU rules. There is no moving of the goalposts as some have suggested.

    Who is actually right in all this will be decided at a future date but, as if today, these are the basic facts.

    I agree with the rest of your post in general, and, as a staunch pro European, feel that we have progressed incredibly well as Europeans in general. There are always exceptions but for me, I'm positive overall. 

    My only gripe is with some of my fellow Brits for the Brexit tragedy.


    Of course the goal post is a moving goal post. Otherwise, this would have been brought up 30+ years ago. But the EC is likeva patent troll looking for money and what constitutes "illegal state aid" is HIGHLY arbitrary.

    the EC has turned into a kangaroo court at best and is embarrassing as Trump. 
    The goal posts have not moved.
    30 years ago it probably wasn't possible to do much about it. On the one hand Apple was an insignificant company in the greater scheme of things, and on the other, the EU investigation was limited to a specific timeframe.

    All country led tax issues are prioritised based on size. It's the same everywhere. It doesn't mean of course that individuals are not investigated.

    This case (among many others) was handled by a special task force within the competition directorate, the head of which is an expert in the field of state aid:

    https://www.berlinersteuergespraeche.de/app/download/6960999/Dr.+Max+Lienemeyer+LL.M.pdf

    The case hinges on tax issues but within a competition framework.

    I'm not an expert in this area but the person who led the investigation is a specialist technician. That is, he is not political pawn, overseeing the general running of the investigation. He has a profound understanding of what he has been tasked with. It's time to be patient and see how things pan out.
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 23 of 48
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,339member
    adm1 said:
    ...that won't be and can't be used retrospectively to punish.
    I'm not sure what you're saying here. Governments can–and will–do absolutely everything they can get away with. The US Constitution, for example, is not a magical piece of paper that actually prevents the government from doing things it says they can't do. It is simply a social framework around which the government was originally designed. The rights protected by the Constitution have been completely and utterly destroyed, save for the first amendment. It's literally the only thing that remains. You don't even have the right to life anymore. So when you say that a law won't be applied retrospectively, on what are you basing that claim? The word or good faith of the legislators themselves? Always say to yourself: you mean the ones who knowingly lied about the intent of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965? and you mean the ones who knowingly lied about the intent of the Affordable Care Act?
    ...warring... 
    Okay, one last thing to say: Please drop this canard. It's literally the only "argument" any EU supporter has ever been able to use, and it's not even legtimate. Conflict is part of the human condition and always will be. There is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it, nor should you. You know what the response is to social engineering? The mass execution of the people who try to do it. We don't take kindly to that sort of thing. Liberalism is an idealistic ideology, grounded in French enlightenment thinking, in which some believe that, with the right amount of education and wise government effort, you can eliminate the impulse for violence and natural human vices, and make these faults the exceptions rather than the norm. It’s a lovely ideology. Very nice, idealistic, utopian. It promises peace, happiness, a certain equality and mutual understanding. How could people not fall in love with it? Unfortunately, it runs completely at odds with 13,000 years of human history. We are creatures of conflict by our very nature. We’ve been killing each other with rocks since the very beginning, and not even for good (meaning practical) reasons. We understand sin is bad; we fall into it regardless. There are too many temptations, too many inclinations. Limited resources, conflicting personal view sand opinions, disagreements over everything under the sun. In the end, it’s a naive and unrealistic way of thinking that seeks to wish away the harsh truths of the world, almost pretending that they don’t exist. Should we give up striving forward to do better? Absolutely not. We should always try to do better with our kind. But we shouldn’t lie to ourselves into thinking that all can be resolved with a bit of education here, some funding there, and a few rules over there. This is something that goes down to our very nature, to who we really are. Just giving some people some “rights” that we made up won’t solve everything just like that. The modern liberal (I’m talking about the average one; the properly educated ones tend to be a bit more mature) just can’t accept this. They want instant gratification, and will wage war against real and perceived obstructions to their vision of ideal society. The worst part is, it’s an endless cycle. There must always be more enemies for the liberals to combat. There must always be more wrongs to be corrected. If there isn’t, the whole thing falls apart.
    GeorgeBMac said:
    Democracy has advantages over dictatorships and vice versa
    Democracy is dictatorship. It's just "decentralized." It gives the appearance of multiple people dictating rule, when in reality it's just oligarchy.
    But those who argue most vehemently are usually looking at only one side of the coin.
    Almost as though truth is objective or something.  :p ;)
    The point is, at least to a degree, that as individual states, operating solely in line with their own interests, you create a culture of self interest, without real control.

    The EU (the word union being key) has provided, even with its perceived failings, a foundation of relative stability when compared to what came before it.

    That stability has led to incredible progress over the time of its existence.

    The absence of that stability might have taken us down a different more dangerous route. 

    For those of us who have never experienced war or hunger (two things that some people in Europe still recall) it is something to cherish.

    The EU may not be perfect but it is difficult to argue against it when you look at everything it has given us.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 24 of 48
    So Apple has a "scheme" which is leaving Germany and France "exploited," huh? Quite the slant Mr. Campbell.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 25 of 48
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 393member
    I guess they keep running out of other peoples money.
    tallest skilSpamSandwich
  • Reply 26 of 48
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    avon b7 said:
    The point is, at least to a degree, that as individual states, operating solely in line with their own interests, you create a culture of self interest, without real control.
    That’s literally the definition of a nation. A culture of self interest. The nation (the PEOPLE) has a culture. It is the duty of the nation to perpetuate said culture. Thus, it is in the interest of the nation (the self-interest of the people) to perpetuate said culture. Who are you–or any supranational “union”–to say what is in the best interest of a single, sovereign nation when you are not a part of it? Who are you to dictate for others what their culture is? Isn’t that appropriation? Or, dare I say, imperialism? I thought that was bad. Hmm…
    That stability has led to incredible progress over the time of its existence.
    What progress, then? If we’re going to state it, we have to list it.
    The absence of that stability might have taken us down a different more dangerous route.
    Yeah, total control of Europe by the USSR. Now it’s just the USSE. Even under Hitler or Stalin, a farmer could choose to produce any cheese he preferred. Nowadays, the EU official is watching him. – Janusz Korwin-Mikke
    The EU may not be perfect but it is difficult to argue against it when you look at everything it has given us.
    List those things. Enough with the platitudes. The time has come for socialists to put their ideology where their mouths are. Isn’t it funny, a ship that sinks from the top…
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 27 of 48
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,339member
    Rayz2016 said:
    I am not a lawyer or a constitutional expert, but I thought in some countries it was written in the constitution that laws of punishment cannot be made retroactive. I have no problem with any country changing its mind on any law including tax laws, but those that do change the law frequently or retroactively risk the chance that companies won't invest there. Which is actually good news for countries with stable laws like the USA.
    But not having a stable president can often negate those advantages. 

    And who said anything about applying these laws retroactively? The EU case against Apple states that the Irish broke existing EU rules by offering Apple a special deal that they didn't offer to other companies. This is not a retroactive application because the law existed while Ireland was allegedly breaking it. 

    The problem I have the EU is judge and jury in these cases, which is ridiculous. (Have you ever seen them lose? Funny that).
    They do lose but not often. The reason is simple, the EU lawyers normally only bring cases they think they will win. Something that makes all the sense in the world. Vote Leave (Brexit) tried to use the amount of cases the UK lost in Europe as a sign of Europe being 'anti-British' in some way. It's weird but there were people willing to swallow anything to get Brexit through the door.

    https://infacts.org/mythbusts/uks-ecj-loss-rate-doesnt-show-injustice/
  • Reply 28 of 48
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,226member
    avon b7 said:

    The goal posts have not moved.
    30 years ago it probably wasn't possible to do much about it. On the one hand Apple was an insignificant company in the greater scheme of things, and on the other, the EU investigation was limited to a specific timeframe.

    All country led tax issues are prioritised based on size. It's the same everywhere. It doesn't mean of course that individuals are not investigated.

    This case (among many others) was handled by a special task force within the competition directorate, the head of which is an expert in the field of state aid:

    https://www.berlinersteuergespraeche.de/app/download/6960999/Dr.+Max+Lienemeyer+LL.M.pdf

    The case hinges on tax issues but within a competition framework.

    I'm not an expert in this area but the person who led the investigation is a specialist technician. That is, he is not political pawn, overseeing the general running of the investigation. He has a profound understanding of what he has been tasked with. It's time to be patient and see how things pan out.
    If 30 years ago "it probably wasn't possible to do much about it." and now it "is" then that, by definition, is a moving goal post. What constitutes "illegal state aid" is NOT properly codified in a law so it becomes possible to define it as anything you need it to be at any given point in time. That is why I consider the EC a kangaroo body. It can bounce and bound to any conclusion it wants with no real law backing up beyond vague guidelines.

    "
    On the one hand Apple was an insignificant company in the greater scheme of things, and on the other, the EU investigation was limited to a specific timeframe."

    So now, that Apple has lots of money, the EC wants it. It was okay years ago because it wasn't worth the effort for the shake down.

    You can find "experts" to back up any side of any argument. I am sure you can find lots of experts willing to defend the "Right to White Wash History" as well.

    My issue is "illegal state aid" is a moving goal post if it is not codified. If The Netherlands decided to stop all charging for all internet traffic and everyone got gigabit unlimited access, is this illegal state aid? If Belgium does massive infrastructure improvements to increase their productivity by 50% and puts them competitively above the neighbors, Is this illegal state aid? Depending on the winds of the day, it could be. In this case, I have no issue with the EC adding Ireland's tax code (open to any company and not a "special" deal as the EC lied about in their report) as "illegal state aid", but DON't apply that ruling retroactively. Doing so, is mob style mentality and nothing but a money grab.

    My issue is the lack of codification and the retroactive aspect of the finding. You can reach the conclusion it is "illegal state aid" and add that to the 
    definition of what constitutes "illegal state aid". Then, going forward, you can fine anyone breaking those codified standards but NEVER going backwards in time.
    SpamSandwichtallest skil
  • Reply 29 of 48
    It would be great to have some details about how the holes could be closed! I think the Dutch/Irish scheme is that the Dutch buys the goods from the Irish but then the Irish pays the Dutch for a licensing fee so that the net revenue becomes almost 0. Which part of that can become illegal?
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 30 of 48
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,339member
    steven n. said:
    avon b7 said:

    The goal posts have not moved.
    30 years ago it probably wasn't possible to do much about it. On the one hand Apple was an insignificant company in the greater scheme of things, and on the other, the EU investigation was limited to a specific timeframe.

    All country led tax issues are prioritised based on size. It's the same everywhere. It doesn't mean of course that individuals are not investigated.

    This case (among many others) was handled by a special task force within the competition directorate, the head of which is an expert in the field of state aid:

    https://www.berlinersteuergespraeche.de/app/download/6960999/Dr.+Max+Lienemeyer+LL.M.pdf

    The case hinges on tax issues but within a competition framework.

    I'm not an expert in this area but the person who led the investigation is a specialist technician. That is, he is not political pawn, overseeing the general running of the investigation. He has a profound understanding of what he has been tasked with. It's time to be patient and see how things pan out.
    If 30 years ago "it probably wasn't possible to do much about it." and now it "is" then that, by definition, is a moving goal post. What constitutes "illegal state aid" is NOT properly codified in a law so it becomes possible to define it as anything you need it to be at any given point in time. That is why I consider the EC a kangaroo body. It can bounce and bound to any conclusion it wants with no real law backing up beyond vague guidelines.

    "On the one hand Apple was an insignificant company in the greater scheme of things, and on the other, the EU investigation was limited to a specific timeframe."

    So now, that Apple has lots of money, the EC wants it. It was okay years ago because it wasn't worth the effort for the shake down.

    You can find "experts" to back up any side of any argument. I am sure you can find lots of experts willing to defend the "Right to White Wash History" as well.

    My issue is "illegal state aid" is a moving goal post if it is not codified. If The Netherlands decided to stop all charging for all internet traffic and everyone got gigabit unlimited access, is this illegal state aid? If Belgium does massive infrastructure improvements to increase their productivity by 50% and puts them competitively above the neighbors, Is this illegal state aid? Depending on the winds of the day, it could be. In this case, I have no issue with the EC adding Ireland's tax code (open to any company and not a "special" deal as the EC lied about in their report) as "illegal state aid", but DON't apply that ruling retroactively. Doing so, is mob style mentality and nothing but a money grab.

    My issue is the lack of codification and the retroactive aspect of the finding. You can reach the conclusion it is "illegal state aid" and add that to the definition of what constitutes "illegal state aid". Then, going forward, you can fine anyone breaking those codified standards but NEVER going backwards in time.
     New treaties have been signed over the thirty years. There have been many changes. The investigation didn't go back thirty years. It covered a specific period although historical context was provided. That's why the goal posts haven't moved. 

    Yes, as I said, when it comes to taxes priorities are made relating to size. The net is always cast far and wide but priority is given to the bigger cases. All tax collection bodies do the same. I speak as an ex collector of ST1 taxes for the UK government.

    Thirty years ago and since then, other companies, far larger than Apple at the time, were inspected and some investigated. Times have changed. Business has changed. Apple is only one of around 300 companies currently under investigation. Some are US companies although I believe most are not.

    As regards state aid, definitions, legality etc Dr Lienemeyer is one of the best placed individuals to evaluate the situation. As head of the task force, I think it would be difficult to find a better, more experienced and competent lead.
  • Reply 31 of 48
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,328member
    avon b7 said:
    The EU may not be perfect but it is difficult to argue against it when you look at everything it has given us.
    List those things. Enough with the platitudes. The time has come for socialists to put their ideology where their mouths are. Isn’t it funny, a ship that sinks from the top…

    Guatenteed Paid maternity leave, paternity leave, protection on working hours, single market of over 500 million people. Erasmus programme; visa free movement. Freedom to live anywhere within the EU. Consumer rights, lower phone bills, lower mobile bills, good Safety standards set across the EU. Paid holiday of a minimum 4 weeks. Protection against discrimination. Clean givers and air. Privacy. Health and safety. Freedom of information 
    And loads more all harmonised between 28 nations



    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 32 of 48
    avon b7 said:
    The goal posts have not moved.

    It's fairly obvious that the goal posts have moved given the fact that the EU can't supply any precedents for transfer pricing being treated as "illegal state aid" prior to 2014. The U.S. Treasury pointed out that in the 65 rulings the EU made prior to 2014, none of them involved the EU "challenging how a Member State tax authority applied its own transfer pricing rules in granting a specific ruling."

  • Reply 33 of 48
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,226member
    avon b7 said:
    The EU may not be perfect but it is difficult to argue against it when you look at everything it has given us.
    List those things. Enough with the platitudes. The time has come for socialists to put their ideology where their mouths are. Isn’t it funny, a ship that sinks from the top…

    Guatenteed Paid maternity leave, paternity leave, protection on working hours, single market of over 500 million people. Erasmus programme; visa free movement. Freedom to live anywhere within the EU. Consumer rights, lower phone bills, lower mobile bills, good Safety standards set across the EU. Paid holiday of a minimum 4 weeks. Protection against discrimination. Clean givers and air. Privacy. Health and safety. Freedom of information 
    And loads more all harmonised between 28 nations



    Don't forget 22% unemployment rate in Greece.
    Don't forget 17% unemployment rate in Spain.
    Don't forget 11% unemployment rate in Italy.
    Don't forget 11% unemployment rate in Cyprus.
    Don't forget 10% unemployment rate in France.
    Don't forget censorship (The Right to whitewash History).

    And so on. The overall EU unemployment rate has fallen some 50% since its peak in 2013 or so but still remains very high. All the benefits are good for those with a job but hell for those without one. It is a balancing act.
    tallest skil
  • Reply 34 of 48
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,226member
    avon b7 said:

     New treaties have been signed over the thirty years. There have been many changes. The investigation didn't go back thirty years. It covered a specific period although historical context was provided. That's why the goal posts haven't moved. 

    Yes, as I said, when it comes to taxes priorities are made relating to size. The net is always cast far and wide but priority is given to the bigger cases. All tax collection bodies do the same. I speak as an ex collector of ST1 taxes for the UK government.

    Thirty years ago and since then, other companies, far larger than Apple at the time, were inspected and some investigated. Times have changed. Business has changed. Apple is only one of around 300 companies currently under investigation. Some are US companies although I believe most are not.

    As regards state aid, definitions, legality etc Dr Lienemeyer is one of the best placed individuals to evaluate the situation. As head of the task force, I think it would be difficult to find a better, more experienced and competent lead.
    Absolutely the goal posts have moved because what constitutes "illegal state aid" is NOT codified. If you have to have a PhD to devine what it is, it is not codified and the goal post can move on a whim. The current ruling goes toward codifying what is "illegal state aid" and should be applied going FORWARD and not retroactively.

    Having been the subject of a couple of audits myself, your claim of going after the big bucks is simple and total BS. NOTE: No issues were found in my taxes but it did take time, money and effort to deal with it.

    If 30 years ago, bigger companies had been investigated then why weren't laws changed THEN? When wait till now to find the existing laws non-compliant? Why? Because the goal post magically moved. Likewise, if the issue is with Ireland's laws, then the EC should be suing Ireland to FORCE them to update and change their laws. Oh wait... It is easier to get companies to pay for it than to get a broke country to pay for it. Sounds like a patent troll.

    As for Dr Lienemeyer, I don't care one way or the other. If there are issues with the laws, FIX THE DAMN LAWS. Then you abide by those laws GOING FORWARD. Moving the goal posts in a retro-active fashion is the act of a greedy and narrow minded body.
  • Reply 35 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    avon b7 said:
    The EU may not be perfect but it is difficult to argue against it when you look at everything it has given us.
    List those things. Enough with the platitudes. The time has come for socialists to put their ideology where their mouths are. Isn’t it funny, a ship that sinks from the top…

    Guatenteed Paid maternity leave, paternity leave, protection on working hours, single market of over 500 million people. Erasmus programme; visa free movement. Freedom to live anywhere within the EU. Consumer rights, lower phone bills, lower mobile bills, good Safety standards set across the EU. Paid holiday of a minimum 4 weeks. Protection against discrimination. Clean givers and air. Privacy. Health and safety. Freedom of information 
    And loads more all harmonised between 28 nations



    LMAO! (Wiping away a tear from laughter)
    tallest skil
  • Reply 36 of 48
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Guatenteed Paid maternity leave, paternity leave, protection on working hours… …Erasmus programme… …freedom to live anywhere within the EU, consumer rights, lower phone bills, lower mobile bills, good Safety standards… …paid holiday of a minimum 4 weeks… …clean givers and air. Health…
    Your claim, then, is that these things magically did not exist before the EU and/or could not exist without the EU? Prove your new claim.
    …single market of over 500 million people… …visa free movement…. 
    Neither of these are good. These destroy nations. This is cultural genocide. Who are you–or any supranational “union”–to say what is and is not in the best interest of a single, sovereign nation when you are not a part of it? Who are you to dictate for others what their culture is? Who are you to dictate for others who can and cannot be in their nation? Why are nations incapable of deciding these things for themselves?
    Protection against discrimination, privacy… …safety. Freedom of information
    None of these exist under the EU at all. Holy shit.
  • Reply 37 of 48
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,804moderator
    steven n. said:
    Legislation vs the kangaroo European Commission's  whim of the week re-interpretation of existing laws and applying them retroactively is the correct way to fix this. Get the member states to agree to concrete laws placing every country on the same competitive footing.
    The problem with certain forms of taxation is they are calculated and collected after the taxpayer has the money. When a company agrees to do business, they agree in advance to the tax rates. After they have the income, they do exactly what children do where if you give them something and then ask for something back, they say 'no it's mine' and they forget about the agreement. This isn't the same for tax that is implemented before the taxpayer gets the option to avoid paying it like employee income tax or sales tax.

    Sales tax gets incorporated into the price of a product so there's no option, employee income tax is taken before the employee is paid. One solution to corporate tax would be to do the same and tax the company in advance and then if they are due reimbursement, it's up to the company to ask for it back. They can do this in real-time by taxing B2B transactions at the banking level and it can scale based on the value of the transaction. This kind of taxation could replace lots of forms of taxation to make things simpler, especially for small businesses. If companies do things like transfer pricing, tax the transfers and then the company has to claim revenue back if it wasn't justified. None of these big transfers are happening in cash, it's all digital, it can be tracked and taxed by the banks just like they do with credit card processing fees. They can experiment with it on a small scale like 1% tax as it's compounded and see what the results are then scale it appropriately and gradually replace other forms of taxation so if someone has already been taxed enough during the year, they get credit on their other forms of tax.
  • Reply 38 of 48
    This is great news.
  • Reply 39 of 48
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,339member
    steven n. said:
    avon b7 said:

     New treaties have been signed over the thirty years. There have been many changes. The investigation didn't go back in years. It covered a specific period although historical context was provided. That's why the goal posts haven't moved. 

    Yes, as I said, when it comes to taxes priorities are made relating to size. The net is always cast far and wide but priority is given to the bigger cases. All tax collection bodies do the same. I speak as an ex collector of ST1 taxes for the UK government.

    Thirty years ago and since then, other companies, far larger than Apple at the time, were inspected and some investigated. Times have changed. Business has changed. Apple is only one of around 300 companies currently under investigation. Some are US companies although I believe most are not.

    As regards state aid, definitions, legality etc Dr Lienemeyer is one of the best placed individuals to evaluate the situation. As head of the task force, I think it would be difficult to find a better, more experienced and competent lead.
    Absolutely the goal posts have moved because what constitutes "illegal state aid" is NOT codified. If you have to have a PhD to devine what it is, it is not codified and the goal post can move on a whim. The current ruling goes toward codifying what is "illegal state aid" and should be applied going FORWARD and not retroactively.

    Having been the subject of a couple of audits myself, your claim of going after the big bucks is simple and total BS. NOTE: No issues were found in my taxes but it did take time, money and effort to deal with it.

    If 30 years ago, bigger companies had been investigated then why weren't laws changed THEN? When wait till now to find the existing laws non-compliant? Why? Because the goal post magically moved. Likewise, if the issue is with Ireland's laws, then the EC should be suing Ireland to FORCE them to update and change their laws. Oh wait... It is easier to get companies to pay for it than to get a broke country to pay for it. Sounds like a patent troll.

    As for Dr Lienemeyer, I don't care one way or the other. If there are issues with the laws, FIX THE DAMN LAWS. Then you abide by those laws GOING FORWARD. Moving the goal posts in a retro-active fashion is the act of a greedy and narrow minded body.
    As I said, the net is cast far and wide and covers the complete spectrum of tax activity. An audit is an inspection, not an investigation. It is routine, a simple application of protocol. An investigation is completely different and you might not even be aware of it.

    It is not, as you say 'going after the big bucks'. It is a case of prioritising. Resources in government are extremely limited. Larger cases, that by definition, have the possibility of bringing in huge amounts of hard cash to the revenue system are given priority. If the debt is accruing then even more pressure is applied. Joe public also gets looked at. This is far from BS and carried out in every developed country. It is common sense. There is also a random selection of cases from the entire tax spectrum that get looked at.

    I have personally written off hundreds of thousands of pounds on cases that were considered to cost more to collect than to process. It doesn't mean the affected party gets off Scott free, though. Also take into account the huge amounts of overpayments that come into the system and cannot officially be allocated anyway. Overpayments that never get resolved, just sucked into the overpayment account waiting for someone to claim their money back.

    It might sound crazy, but in my day, people would sometimes rob banks then make an anonymous payment into the system out of a sense of 'duty'. Every month I received circulars asking me if I had anyone on my books to allocate £30,000 to for example. You know, just in case.

    You have to set priorities. If there are complaints (as I understand there have been in these cases) you will see the bigger fish getting looked at first. It would be irresponsible to prioritise any other way.
  • Reply 40 of 48
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,328member
    Guatenteed Paid maternity leave, paternity leave, protection on working hours… …Erasmus programme… …freedom to live anywhere within the EU, consumer rights, lower phone bills, lower mobile bills, good Safety standards… …paid holiday of a minimum 4 weeks… …clean givers and air. Health…
    Your claim, then, is that these things magically did not exist before the EU and/or could not exist without the EU? Prove your new claim.
    …single market of over 500 million people… …visa free movement…. 
    Neither of these are good. These destroy nations. This is cultural genocide. Who are you–or any supranational “union”–to say what is and is not in the best interest of a single, sovereign nation when you are not a part of it? Who are you to dictate for others what their culture is? Who are you to dictate for others who can and cannot be in their nation? Why are nations incapable of deciding these things for themselves?
    Protection against discrimination, privacy… …safety. Freedom of information
    None of these exist under the EU at all. Holy shit.
    I've made no claim about them not existing before the EU ( in this case it's also the EEC) but many of them didn't exist before 1957. Even in the USA at the time a large group was regularly discriminated against.
     It was only because of the EEC/EU that the rules/regulations were harmonised across the member states. But hey I'll take my guaranteed 4 weeks paid holiday (though in my case it's 25 plus 8 bank holidays) etc.

    avon b7
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