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Jimmy Carr

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918303.  Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:53 pm Reply with quote

The Jimmy Carr tax avoidance controversy is all over the British newspapers.

And, as has been (repeatedly) noted, Jimmy has, as co-host of 10 o'clock Live, mocked tax avoiders.

Is he guilty of hypocrisy? And more generally, how are rich entertainers like Jimmy (3.3 million per year) able to successfully present themselves to the public as antagonists to the rich and the powerful?

Hollywood stars being especially egregious, with their private jets, multiple mansions, tax accountants, and servants prohibited from looking them in the eye -- yet with these same stars feeling free to rail against "rich" businessmen who make 1/10th the yearly income that the stars do?

918305.  Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:21 pm Reply with quote

Welcome to the concept of a bandwagon...


918306.  Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:22 pm Reply with quote

Simple answer is that yes, Jimmy is being a hypcrite, but he's not the only one and I wonder why he's been singled out (who did he piss off?).

It's not that difficult for the Treasury to close a number of loopholes, they proved that in the past (everyone thought IR35 could never be closed, but it did a few years back), but there's a lack of will from all parties to really stamp down on it because they often rely on the people who use such schemes to donate hefty sums to their campaigns, back various projects, etc.

918307.  Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:28 pm Reply with quote

Whatever you might think of Jimmy Carr's (entirely legal) accounting practices, I do find it somewhat galling that David Cameron has called it "morally wrong".

The words "Lord Ashcroft" spring to mind, along with rather a number of other people who would be unhappy with Cameron if he acted to stop these practices,and to whom he may listen.

He might also want to look a little closer to home:

918309.  Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:37 pm Reply with quote

Or to put it another way:

What he is doing is perfectly legal and amounts to a degree of tax planning - something that is common amongst self-employed people and small companies with irregular incomes. That cameron has chosen to attack him just exposes cameron as at best a buffoon and a pig-ighnorant mporon who should be put down before he does anything even dafter. But even he can't be quite that stupid, so we are faced with the alternative explanation - cameron is a cynical liar who has chosen to bully a scapegoat for political ends. Of course it isn't cameron whose at the heart of this - it smacks of despicable piece of organic waste Vince Cable. But cameron plays along because truth and reality come a very distant second to popular rabble-rousing in Cameron's personal morality.

The two of them should be dragged into a public square and given a thousand lashes before being hanged (by the german method) as an example to others of their ilk.

Not that I feel strongly about it or anything...


918313.  Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:59 pm Reply with quote

Not sure if you realise it, but you've been infected, PDR. You sound awfully familiar. Pleasantly familiar.

918325.  Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:51 pm Reply with quote

Interesting to note that when asked about Gary Barlow the PM was more reluctant to make any specific accusations and merely said "everyone should pay the right level of tax" before changing the subject to the jubilee celebration and hailing Gary Barlow as playing a big part in it.

Let's see, Jimmy Carr, who satires the Government on shows like 10 o'clock live, is singled out, but Gary Barlow, who supported the Conservatives during the election campaign, is ignored.

Personally, I'd prefer people in Parliament (all parties) don't bother naming and shaming people, and concentrate on closing changing the tax laws to stop these schemes altogether.

918338.  Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:42 pm Reply with quote

Actually I'm *slightly* embarrassed because I've looked into the detail of what Carr is doing (in so far as that information is available and assuming it's accurate). What Carr is doing is rather unusual, but (AIUI) legal. And that's the point - Cameron and Cable are in a position to change laws; they should address what they perceive to be the problem by doing their jobs rather than make personal attacks on people. That is the lazy approach - the dark side of the farce.

A test would be to look at the inverse - would I get any sympathy for claiming I *shouldn't* be prosecuted for doing 65mph on an open and unoccupied piece of road on the basis that although my action was illegal the lack of any conceivable danger to myself or others made it "moral"? I think not.


918362.  Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:08 pm Reply with quote

Jimmy Carr tax arrangements "morally wrong" says Prime Minister whose government earlier this week pledged 1bn to build submarines for the purposes of launching nuclear weapons.

918367.  Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:10 am Reply with quote

OK, strange digression aside...

Normally I would see nothing wrong with ministers commenting on various subjects and people, but there is a sense of jumping on the bandwagon here from the PM which is a little unsavoury, and I guess other politicans will follow suit, I think he was just unfortunate in being the first one quoted. It will be interesting to see how this is discussed on QT :)

The truth of the matter is that what Carr did was legal, and to be expected from many high earning people, which is why I never accepted the argument against the 50p tax because I knew it wouldn't make a difference to those actively avoiding tax.

I personally think it immoral to earn so much money and avoid paying tax, but I don't have the power to change that. A few years ago, while the economy was doing well, I can forgive previous Governments of various colours for not paying too much attention, but since 2008, Labour, and since 2010, the coalition Governments have had 4 years to do something this. This is why the various cuts in spending and the reduction in top rate tax seem lso unfair.

As for Carr, he should hang his head in shame, not so much for avoiding tax, but for being such a huge hypocrite.

918368.  Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:47 am Reply with quote

I can only agree with the soundbite that Carr has given: I pay what I'm required to pay; why pay more.

If I had the choice, I'd probably do the same.

The only real questions (as noted above):
Why Jimmy Carr and not anyone else?
Who's gaining from this fracas?
Why no action?

I have no difficulty with Carr being a hypocrite - he's an entertainer, a good one. Not a politician.

I think this is simply another shot fired by the media at the super rich as part of the ratings/circulation war.

918370.  Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:28 am Reply with quote

I laugh at politicians calling what other people do "morally wrong". That I find hypocritical.

I looked up the scheme that he uses, and the operative word here is "legal". As much as people may not like it, who exactly is he harming? It's LEGAL. Quite frankly, if someone said I could do that, then I bloody well would. There is nothing hidden about it since more than one person uses it (and why is it only him that's being made an example of?). If politicians don't like it, then close up the loop hole immediately and justify why they've done so. Come to think of it, while they're there there are other loopholes that could be closed up - but then I'd bet everything I have there are are loopholes that would be benefiting politicians; ones they'd want to keep quiet about or are quite happy to take advantage of. Wonder who will come out swinging the hypocrite bat then?

I question Cameron's motives... I don't, this smacks of badly attempted point scoring. Methinks this is going to backfire, since Jimmy Carr is somewhat more popular than Cameron I'd be guessing.

918372.  Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:14 am Reply with quote

Personally, I'd prefer people in Parliament (all parties) don't bother naming and shaming people, and concentrate on closing changing the tax laws to stop these schemes altogether.

In fairness, the only reason that Cameron was talking specifically about Jimmy Carr was because he was asked a specific question about his situation, which was brought to the attention of the public by a front-page splash in the Times earlier this week. The government didn't wake up one day and decide to just fling some shit at a comedian.

The Times has been leading with various tax-avoidance stories every day, so they have clearly decided to have a bit of a campaign on the subject - it is interesting to note that at least two of the stories have been media-related - the one this morning was in relation to the exploitation of film finance products to manufacture a scenario where the tax relief payable is greater than 100% of the investment made.

I think this campaign could possibly be described as a bit of a master-stroke - for all of UK Uncuts caterwauling about tax avoidance by corporations, they never really captured the public imagination - not least because the case against most of their high-profile targets was alarmingly thin.

However, in focussing on high-profile celebrities, the Times has given the story a bit more life, not to mention plenty of opportunity of b-roll of sheepish or defiant celebrities outside their enormous houses to pad out TV reports.

As far as it goes, I don't think the arrangements Carr had for his income were immoral - but I do think they highlight the fact that the more complex tax law is, the more little loopholes exist that can be exploited by specialists with the right kind of eye for detail and a spot of imagination.

It has long been my position that rather than tinkering with percentages paid on various strata of income, a wholesale simplification of tax law would be a far more effective way to boost overall tax revenues. I guess the best we can hope for is a good spot of righteous indignation by the public over the various schemes that have been highlighted this week, whose main comparable factor is their complexity, is enough to force a good, hard look at a way to streamline the legislation that allows these schemes to exist.

918375.  Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:35 am Reply with quote

Well, I don't mind being in the minority who does find tax avoidance sligtly immoral, if we were all the same I'd be worried I had something common with those idiots on TOWIE :)

918378.  Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:56 am Reply with quote

The thing I find faintly pleasing is the device employed in this K2 scheme that Jimmy Carr was involved in (he is now saying he has removed himself from it) is a 'loan' given on the understanding it will not be paid back.

The similarity between this, and the donation-as-loan scandal that caught out both major parties a few years ago is notable.


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