No Cheating The Common Good

One of the editorial‘s in the current edition of The Tablet has the headline “Legal or not, these tax havens are for cheats”. It has been written in response to the recent “leak” of documents concerning the tax arrangements of various international corporations and wealthy individuals.

The editorial makes a very significant and vital point, one which has been oft overlooked I think in the other media coverage of the leaked documents:

Defenders of the status quo, mainly tax lawyers, accountants and their clients such as the head of Apple, Tim Cook, invariably insist that nothing illegal has happened and every penny of tax legally due has been handed over. There is a disconnection from morality here. Those who exist to advise their clients how to minimise their liabilities do not regard it as part of their task to assume responsibility for the common good. They should. (emphasis added)

I think that about sums it up. The lack of any moral consideration means that the supporters of the current system of tax havens will have no one to blame but themselves as governments around the world move to close the loopholes.