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The wickedness of Tax Justice

Some further thoughts on my post from yesterday on Richard Murphy’s new comments policy.

Murphy of Tax Research, is the main adviser to Tax Justice. With the help of financial support from the Rowntree Trust, TJN have got themselves into a powerful position by constantly drawing attention to the excesses of the tax avoidance industry. They have probably been the main force that has brought the subject onto the front pages of the newspapers, almost to the point of feverishness. We are naturally happy that as many people as possible get to realise that the tax system is broken.

BUT – in our view the underlying problem is that the tax system is based on the taxation of individuals, who are mobile, and companies, whose identity is no more than a legal construct. This ought to be obvious to anyone who thinks about the subject for a moment. That being so, the solution is to shift the bulk of revenue collection onto the taxation, in some shape or form, of fixed property. It does not even have to be LVT, though that is what we advocate. It is a message that Murphy does not want to hear, as is clear from this posting on his blog.

Having reflected on this one obvious way to cut out some work is to get rid of all the comments that are posted here in contravention of the comments policy. So please note if you’re just trying to support neoliberalism, tax avoiders, offshore and austerity you will be deleted, and most especially so if you have been doing so persistently. The same will be treue of those who say for the umpteenth time that land value tax solves all problems.”

The real wickedness here is that not only is this wrong, but that Tax Justice has also misled organisations such as Christian Aid and Church Action on Poverty, who should and could have been major forces behind the LVT movement if only they had been pointed in the right direction. Although TJN allowed LVT advocate Carol Wilcox a platform on one occasion, it seems to have been just a token concession. Nothing more has been said since. Our complain is that the noise made by Tax Justice also preventing our view from being heard, when they ought to be saying the same thing themselves.

When Tax Justice themselves keep on banging the same false note on the same drum they can hardly complain when others constantly remind them of that. One also has to ask questions about the independence of TJN, bearing in mind that, as is no secret, Murphy is adviser to the civil service union to which most of the tax officials belong. To promote LVT would not go down well amongst any group of people who feed off the present tax system and its deficiencies. There is also an irony in the fact that the Rowntree Trust’s investments include shares in firms that are becoming notorious for their tax avoidance.