Monday, 16 February 2015

Just because it's legal doesn't mean you have to do it

Janet Street-Porter is outspokenly honest, possibly too much so, or she would be director-general of the BBC by now. She now makes a living from her writing and, as so many of her fellow commentators* do, relies on a corporate structure to manage her finances, as her article in last Saturday's Indy explained:

My company is tiny, and its income is derived from my work as a writer and broadcaster, and the accounts are filed at Companies House. My bank is HSBC, but I do not have any offshore accounts.

She is open about the level of her earnings:

I’ve just paid HMRC more than £26,000 in corporation tax, on top of the thousands in PAYE on my salary. I’m not complaining – I carefully saved the money throughout the year


Small businesses based in the UK operate under a completely different regime from the huge multinational companies such as Starbucks, Amazon and Google, or the private clients of HSBC, or the thousands of non-doms who live in the UK but who possess vast wealth in trust funds carefully structured to minimise tax. [...]  how can one person, not a pop star or a footballer, pay a 10th of the sum handed over by Starbucks – a huge company with almost 800 outlets in the UK? 
The size of JS-P's tax bill implies a comfortable income, but she is unlikely to be near the top of the commentariat rich list, which is probably dominated by chaps and Polly Toynbee. So it would be nice if those on the other side of her argument about tax dodges or who are comfortable with income disparity in this country would also publish their annual income.

* or IT contractors.

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