Sunday, November 07, 2010

Luxury firm helps celebrities go offshore

TJN is in the news again, this time in The Observer:
"A luxury lifestyle company founded by the Duchess of Cornwall's nephew, Ben Elliot, is under fire for offering to help Britain's richest individuals avoid tax by shifting their affairs to the offshore haven of the British Virgin Islands. . . . Elliot, a friend of Prince William, has close links to the royal family – the Duchess of Cornwall visited Quintessentially's club in Soho after it opened last year.

As Elliot said:

"If people want to set up companies in the British Virgin Islands, we can assist there," said Elliot, who described offshore arrangements as "a sensible way to look after your assets". Elliot brushed aside questions about tax avoidance, describing offshoring assets as something that has "happened since the beginning of time".

So that's alright then. This justification from Quintessentially, which promises "uncorrupted beauty in the British Virgin Islands" (!) is almost as lame a justification as was given by a spokesman for a Dutch royal, who said her tax avoidance was justified because she had an eye problem. We, of course, take a different view. As The Observer quotes us:
The firm's BVI plan was criticised by John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network, who said: "It's just become the norm that wealthy people don't see themselves as part of society and aren't prepared to contribute like the rest of society in paying tax."


Anonymous Tom said...

What do you think would be the result of NO tax competition between jurisdictions? Let's say there is one worldwide income tax imposed on everyone everywhere. That there is nowhere to escape it. It is competition alone that keeps taxes from being any worse than they currently are. I don't begrudge anyone who figures a way around some of it. Governments will NEVER have enough money, even when they have it all as in communist countries.

8:41 am  

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