Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tax protest in tax haven

Citizens of the UK-linked tax haven of Jersey are demonstrating about a new Goods and Services tax which the government of Jersey says is needed to fill a "black hole" in public finances caused by their decision to cut income tax on companies to zero (or 10% on finance companies). A fifth of the entire population has signed a petition about this issue. They are rightly wondering why the island has $400 billion in bank deposits and funds, and yet the poorest sections of society are being asked to stump up cash to pay extra taxes.

Alan Breckon, chairman of the Consumer Council and a deputy (representative), said dismay was widespread. "Individuals are concerned about their basic living costs because Jersey is a pretty expensive place to live and businesses are concerned because of all the red tape they will have to deal with."

and, as Richard Murphy put it:

"These people are going to be paying a subsidy to ensure that people and companies who can really afford to pay their taxes do not have to. It's a case of tax the poor to support the rich in Jersey, and you can see why people are protesting."

It is good to see tax protests coming from street level, rather than from the wealthiest sections of society. Indeed, it is good that the protests are being carried out in the open. Too often, tax protests take place in smoke-filled rooms, out of sight.


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