View From The Side: Good News! Tax Is Now Optional


Further evidence that we are living in the end times was revealed this week by The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The leaking of The Panama Papers has seen a staggering 11.5 million documents enter the public realm, a paper trail that lists so many shady financial deals, tax dodges, and blatant financial criminality that people are starting to feel nostalgic for the good ol’ days of ‘honest’ Robert Maxwell. There is plenty of excellent journalism being done on covering all the gory details, have a look at this, this, this and this for that. 

Maybe your feed is already buzzing with frank and honest, uncensored, democratic debate by the intellectual heavyweights that are your mates. Guardian articles, filled with damning facts about all the people we trusted. A clip of the moment Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson broke his life, autotuned. “PAY YOUR TAX  YOU 1% FUCKS!!!!!!”, posts the guy who awkwardly added you after you’d shared a cigarette at a party (so could continue your ‘very interesting chat’ about the truth behind 9-11).

Or maybe your timeline is like mine, food picture, group picture, an advert for women’s clothes and three more of my friends “like facebook”. Not that I myself posted or shared anything about the Panama Papers, I can’t take the judgment from judgemental pricks like me. 

Part of me thinks that this is the kind of news that should trigger a spontaneous urge to riot in all who hear it. Nurses, steelworkers, charity street muggers, actual muggers, your local Lidl assistant manager, disability benefit claimants, community support officers, all drag the corrupted rot out of their helicopters and Tuesday night bridge games at the freemason's lodge, and burn all their money before their eyes. 

But alas, this bleak fantasy is just that, a fantasy. 

And why should I continue to indulge in it? Despite this being the biggest data exposure of our time, what new things have really come to light? Were you shocked by news that David Cameron’s late father and many high ranking tory party members have been hiding obscene amounts of money from HMRC? Why? The story about Ian Cameron (our PM’s dad) broke in 2012. The Tax Justice Network has been exposing and campaigning on this very issue since 2003. Google, Amazon, Starbucks and all the other big swinging dicks you love so much only became aware of the word “tax” because someone made the massive faux pas of mentioning it at the Bilderberg group swingers after party, instantly killing the whole vibe. They still don’t fully understand the concept.

Think of how many international corporations you think aren’t out there every quarter, stretching the definition of “tax-efficient” to the extreme. How many are openly proud of how much tax they pay?

Then I think…..maybe we don’t think taxes are that important. Maybe they are not. Maybe this is a sign from on high, a cheeky wink to the masses if you will, “Don’t worry about all these rules we made, we certainly aren’t”. Maybe we too can pay little to no tax. It was all a big joke that got out of hand and it became too embarrassing to tell us all that this whole “paying your tax” thing is just for mugs.

Maybe one day soon you will decide enough is enough! You won’t pay another penny. Why should your hard earned money go to pay for all that useless shit. That kid who finds out he is going to need medical care for the rest of his life can bloody fend for himself like the rest of us. Only really poor people use public libraries so fuck it! Flog em cheap! We can probably get a private company to run adoption services and profit shareholders, double win, brilliant. And honestly, who needs roads without holes and streets clean of filth? So when HMRC ask you about your new financial arrangement (the tax free one…BOOM), you can quote the Prime Minister's spokeswoman when asked about the Cameron’s family estate by saying that your finances are “a private matter’. I’m sure they’ll understand.