Named or Shamed?


The recent headline news regarding a well known comedian using the K2 scheme for tax avoidance,  has been well publicised.

We all have separate views on this, and to cast a personal opinion on this particular situation without full facts would be unethical. We can however, evaluate the morality behind the story.

So, why name an individual?

This is itself is not only unethical but also highly immoral.  Accountants, act within confidentiality rules.  Quote from the Mailonline 10/7/12, “ Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, added: ‘HM Revenue and Customs has a duty not to discuss the tax affairs of individuals in public. It is concerning that this has happened – and not just in this case.’

In all aspects of our professional career we encounter highly confidential information, which is not for the general public’s consumption, why single out in the media a high profile individual?

The meaning of being ethical according to is

1.pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct. “

“2. being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession: e.g It was not considered ethical for physicians to advertise.”

There are morals to most stories. Was the statement made by the Prime minster to damage the comedian’s career?, or leave a more serious statement by underpinning the use of tax avoidance schemes?  Whichever the answer may be, to single out one individual does not seem ethically moral.

Avoidance is not illegal.  Evasion is illegal.

If H M Revenue and Customs seek to tackle a tax avoidance scheme, (a tax avoidance scheme can be used reduce the amount of tax that is payable by means that are within the law)  we will generally find that these schemes once tackled and effectively crushed by HM Revenue & Customs, will eventually have a bill passed in parliament to eradicate the scheme, or the laws that have allowed the scheme to come to fruition.

The laws already exist and interpretation of the laws can come under scrutiny.

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