Letter to Isle of Man Newspaper by PAG committee member Chris Blythe (in personal capacity):
I refer to the letter from Alan Croll last week (We’re no secrecy jurisdiction) and the faint aroma of self-interest in his assertion that tax avoidance is common sense as well as perfectly legal, his criticism of Tax Justice Network, and his statement that the Isle of Man is not a secret jurisdiction.
He is quite correct in stating that an economist’s attitude (and clearly his) is that tax avoidance is legal whilst tax evasion is illegal. However, to the ordinary man in the street, the words avoidance and evasion are remarkably similar – to the point that it is very hard sometimes to distinguish the two, as Gary Barlow and other wealthy” tax avoiders” in the UK have found to their cost. And when HMRC tests (allegedly legal) tax avoidance schemes in court, it is often found that the borderline has been crossed and the intent of the relevant tax laws breached. In those circumstances, avoidance and evasion may be considered two sides of the same coin - “weasel words” designed to cloak the sometimes legal / sometimes slippery practices / sometimes illegal practices of well-paid tax accountants and lawyers looking for opportunities and loopholes in the wording of tax laws.