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Poll on morality of tax avoidance

Christian Aid recently announced the results of a survey indicating that almost 75% of British adults believe the government should demand international action to tackle avoidance and evasion.

Interestingly, over a third of respondents said they would consider using a tax haven to reduce their tax bill if they knew how to but 56% regarded ‘tax avoidance by multinational companies in different countries across the world’ as ‘morally wrong’.

No definition of ‘tax avoidance’ accompanied the poll results but a Christian Aid spokesperson indicated that the following distinction between avoidance and evasion was presented to the participants: ‘Tax avoidance is the use of legal loopholes to alter a person or company’s financial position in order to lower the amount of tax that they are obliged to pay.  This differs from tax evasion where a person or organisation does not pay tax by illegal methods.’

Almost 80% of respondents believe that it is too easy for multinational companies in the UK to avoid paying tax and 55% believe that the government should make supporting developing countries by tackling tax avoidance a greater priority.

Joseph Stead, Senior Economic Justice Adviser at Christian Aid, said:

‘This poll shows there is a huge public appetite for international action to tackle tax dodging both domestically and in developing countries.  The public are clear that the government is not acting sufficiently, and that companies need to open their books more.’



Date: 17th September, 2012
Author: Cathy Corns


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