Every man is entitled if he can to arrange his affairs so that the tax attaching under the appropriate Acts is less than it otherwise would be. If he succeeds in ordering them so as to secure that result, then, however unappreciative the Commissioners of Inland Revenue or his fellow taxpayers may be of his ingenuity, he cannot be compelled to pay an increased tax. (IRC v Duke of Westminster [ 1936 ] AC1 (HL)).
This principle has been beaten back in recent years, in particular by laws that ask people to consider whether the tax minimisation scheme they have entered into is so artificial that instead of merely avoiding tax, the taxpayer is actively evading tax.
But even if the procedures used are legal, it’s not clear that they are ethically acceptable. This is in fact the closest I can get to understanding exactly what a rort is: it’s something that is technically legal, but nevertheless pushes the law to such an extent that it is immoral.
And it is immoral to make such a big effort to avoid paying taxes. It amounts to saying that you just don’t give a damn about anyone else, and that all you want to do is take. And take. And take some more.
We’ll know that the government is serious about all New Zealanders contributing fairly to the common good of our society when they start asking hard questions of their tax avoiding mates.
It has been confirmed the Employment Court can inquire into the business case behind a redundancy to see if it is genuine.
Confirmation, with major implications for employers, is found in the recent judgment of Employment Court Chief Judge Graeme Colgan, who found the rationale behind a Hawke's Bay farm’s decision to make a farm worker redundant did not stack up.
So the lawyer judge stands in the shoes of the employer making financial decisions affecting other staff and shareholders but with no responsibility for the company's operations.
On the face of it, the company had made a judgment that the job did not require a person of the existing holder's skill/experience and it would save money by downgrading the position. Offering the position to the present holder at a lower salary is OK in theory but it will only work if the person concerned accepts the situation. As often as not, as a result of the downgrade, the person has a 'chip' on their shoulder. As a general rule, judges with little or no senior management experience are not competent to make these sort of decisions.
MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, responding to a backlash for a promo she recently appeared in, doubled down Monday on her claims that children do not belong solely to their parents.“This isn’t about me wanting to take your kids, and this isn’t even about whether children are property,” she said. “This is about whether we as a society, expressing our collective will through our public institutions, including our government, have a right to impinge on individual freedoms in order to advance a common good. And that is exactly the fight that we have been having for a couple hundred years.”The MSNBC host has been thrust into the spotlight lately for a network promotion she appeared in, claiming that kids belong to whole communities.“We’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours, and your responsibility,” she says in the ad. “We haven’t had a very collective notion of ‘These are our children.’ So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that ‘kids belong to their parents’ or ‘kids belong to their families,’ and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”