Forman & Son MD Lance Forman believes paying tax is an obligation


- Credit: Carmen Valino - on shift

What is it about the word ‘offshore’ that conjures up visions of deceit and dishonesty that the word ‘foreign’ seems to evade. Or is that avoid?

Both words are exactly the same as far as we in the UK are concerned. We live on an island, so anything foreign is offshore.

If you own a holiday flat on the Costa Brava, it’s an offshore investment. Most pension funds that the vast bulk of British people share in, invariably invest offshore. And British investment overseas has ensued for hundreds of years bringing untold wealth to this country. Foreign ‘offshore’ investments are to be praised not scorned.

What’s more, foreign investment into the UK is also to be welcomed.

In light of recent press reports of shock and horror at Cameron’s overseas investment, it seems odd that such investment is encouraged by politicians of all colours. It creates local jobs and wealth and also advantages for the foreign investor.

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In a recent UK government document entitled “Why Invest in the UK” it states that the government “is committed to creating the most competitive tax regime in the G20.”

So here we are complaining that British citizens, including the PM, want to place their hard earned cash offshore, legally, to save tax, whilst at the same time encouraging foreign investors the world over to come to Britain and save tax. This is either deranged economic confusion or blatant political hypocrisy.

What really infuriates me is when politicians talk about the moral aspects of tax, or tax avoidance, as though it’s more moral to drive at 50mph on the motorway, rather than 70mph. No it’s not. You hold up the rest of the traffic. Tax is an obligation not a choice and if the rules allow that obligation to be minimised, so be it. Those who deal with their affairs efficiently will be left with more to donate to charity, which is a moral obligation and free choice. More from Lance

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