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single29-Jun-2012ethics/moralityBiggles Bronze Star Survey Creator by votes33355.0%


Is it immoral to use legal means to avoid paying taxes?

In many countries, tax loopholes can allow people to avoid paying as much tax as they should. This has been the focus of recent media attention in the UK, with the British Prime Minister describing the tax avoidance methods used by the comedian Jimmy Carr as being "morally wrong".

9No, it is never immoral.
6It is usually immoral, but might not be under certain circumstances.
4Yes, it is always immoral.
3It is usually not immoral, but might be under certain circumstances.
3I don't know.

posted 29-Jun-2012 8:49pm  
Hell no. It's not necessarily immoral to use illegal means to avoid paying taxes either. Coercion is immoral. Taxes are coerced. Avoiding coercion is completely fine.
Biggles Bronze Star Survey Creator
(reply to dab) posted 29-Jun-2012 8:56pm  
I thought you might have something to say on this one smile
posted 30-Jun-2012 1:48am  
If you find loopholes which are popular or serve the intent, then it's fine. I don't think it's cool to hunt for ways to pay less taxes than others otherwise in your bracket were expected to pay. That turns the tax agency into an adversarial entity, and forces everyone else to foot the bill for either loopholers, or combatting loopholers.
(reply to dab) posted 30-Jun-2012 2:41am  
Tax is a built in requirement of economics ever since the Federal Reserve system was created.

If they taxed everyone a flat tax of 90% and used it solely to pay off the national debt to the FR, no one's tangible net worth would change any.

It is when such collected tax money is spent rather than incinerated that it actually effects us, for instance on defense, welfare, and such.
It also serves as a redistribution model, which seems appropriate to me, since money in the hands of people with money to spare earns more money itself.

Jobs seem like a good idea too. They raise the standard of living in manners the private sector could not achieve.

As far as the welfare part goes, I see it like this: A person can build 10 toys per week, but no one else can buy them if they don't work too, and there's not much demand for more goods. However, if you tax the toy maker, they can make 10 toys, keep five toys, and the tax goes to five other people who can buy a toy each. He can trade his toys for other toys of course. Without that tax welfare system, he has no job at all. People have a choice, to be the person running the toy machine, getting five toys per week, or to be unemployed and get one toy. Most people would prefer to be the one working with five times more toys. - An alternative would be for each person to make 1.67 toys per week, no tax or welfare, but you lose economy of scale doing that.

Let me contrast LA to what I find in Washington. LA fed and sheltered it's homeless people. Aside form the heating, there was a higher cost of living, but the place was thriving anyhow, and you felt safe and comfortable. The only people out pan handling were people who didn't want help or had already become hardened criminals. In Washington the homeless have little subsidation in comparison. Of course their needs for food and shelter are no less, so they panhandle. That doesn't suffice, so they turn to purse snatching and selling meth. If they get caught, they go to jail and that costs us four times as much per homeless person than subsidizing their rent and giving them food stamps. No matter what though, it's coming out the public's pockets anyhow. Welfare is the cheapest and safest method. Around the world, it appears to me that the lower the welfare, the lower the standard of living for everyone.

The average person in welfare nations like the US, Canada, and Europe, is doing a lot better than people on average elsewhere. We put the most productive to work and reward them, and weed out those at the bottom. With increased industrialization, and no increase in demand for commodities, I expect that one day 80-90% of the public will be on welfare. The only reason I see not to do that is if human power ever becomes cheaper than electricity. It won't though. Canada did a study and found that rechargeable battery bicycles were four times a more efficient use of crops than producing food for the increased use of calories to pedal bicycles.

One can argue ideologically for or against welfare, but logistically it makes sense to me. I see the WPA as this nation's golden era, in which we built plenty of infrastructure at no cost except that of employing otherwise unemployed people. If their services aren't needed to accomplish that, which is increasingly the case, then feed them anyhow. The average person on an assembly line can produce 24,000 pizzas, t-shirts, or apples per week. No one can consume that much. The notion of everyone working and buying each other's wares and services to sustain each other is obsolete.
posted 30-Jun-2012 9:05am  
It's cheating and it's unfair to other people who do play by the spirit of the rules.
posted 30-Jun-2012 10:15am  
I have a hard time "judging" morality. In fact, I cannot.
check Nother
Enheduanna Survey Central Subscriber
posted 30-Jun-2012 11:36am  
In general I think it is, since most people take regular advantage of all the things that taxes pay for--even people who think taxation itself is immoral (*cough* dab *cough*). I suppose there might be some circumstances in which it wasn't, though I can't actually think what those circumstances might be. And for people who admit the benefits of taxes and the services they pay for, I think it's particularly hypocritical and immoral to then try to avoid paying your share; you're just being a leech if you do that.

My SO heard about Jimmy Carr and watched the episode of "8 out of 10 Cats" that aired right after the scandal. Now he's hooked on the show and is watching it nonstop.
posted 30-Jun-2012 11:44am  
I read the linked articles. I think the question is kind of ridiculous, in that it seems to come from a place where it is like "Whoops! How did we let that happen?!" when obviously the people creating tax laws don't just leave these loopholes by accident.

I don't think morality enters into it. Taxation is not a moral issue.
posted 30-Jun-2012 12:19pm  
No. If you are forced to pay taxes...that is immoral.
posted 30-Jun-2012 3:21pm  
I would not know
posted 2-Jul-2012 5:03am  
By all means screw the government, because they will screw you any chance they get.
posted 2-Jul-2012 12:32pm  
LindaH Silver Star Survey Creator
posted 2-Jul-2012 6:04pm  
Depends. If you are taking advantage of loopholes that probably shouldn't be there, then you are being a sort of sneaky cheater. But if you are taking advantage of tax breaks and things that are little-known but fair, then it is just you getting the most out of what your tax knowledge or preparer tells you. It seems pretty dumb to not take advantage of some tax rule that is fair and reasonable, and gets you paying less.
posted 3-Jul-2012 8:17am  
I would say its immoral. I know the comedian got a lot of stick, when its now been revealed he is only one of a number of rich people doing exactly the same thing. The banks themselves have behaved in many immoral ways to avoid paying the correct and appropriate taxes. As well as a lot of shop owners. All of which have been 'supported' by the government. It was unfair to solely single out this comedian.
Do I think he is immoral?
Anyone who can, but does not support their country in this way is immoral. Will he use the pavements, schools, hospitals, police, fire, ambulance, public parks, etc. Sure he will.
Will people around him still be living at or under the poverty line. Of course they will.
Tax is annoying but its a duty to your country. I just wish the government would monitor closely the correct way to spend it.
(reply to Dino) posted 4-Jul-2012 10:45am  
I don't really like Frankie Boyle, but this is funny: 'If you're rich, don't look at it as tax avoidance, look at it as a Childrens hospital buying you a pool table.'
posted 5-Jul-2012 2:32pm  
I hate taxes. I realize how much they do for me but I still hate the concept. I'd really hate taxes if I was super rich. I'd avoid paying them at all cost. So no, I don't think that it's immoral to avoid paying taxes - it's your money, you earned it. Government doesn't really consult me on how my money should be spent so why should they have it?
posted 16-Jul-2012 3:17pm  
Nope, and since taxes are immoral, I say if you can find a loophole use it.

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