How to Avoid Tax Properly


In the wake of the Panama Papers I’d like to offer some advice to The Elite.

There are far easier ways to avoid paying tax than what you lot get up to. Why trouble yourself and sully your reputation over complicated offshore affairs when you could simply work less?

I join the nation in calling for the Prime Minister’s resignation, but unlike the nation I have the PM’s best interests at heart.

In the UK, as a politician of all people should know, you can earn as much as £11,000 before you’re asked to pay anything to the tax office. That’s plenty to live on, so stop earning, silly. Millions of people earn far less without the motivation of tax avoidance!

Bertrand Russell observed this long ago: “In view of the fact that the bulk of the public expenditure of most civilized Governments consists in payment for past wars or preparation for future wars, the man who lends his money to a Government is in the same position as the bad men in Shakespeare who hire murderers. The net result of the man’s economical habits is to increase the armed forces of the State to which he lends his savings. Obviously it would be better if he spent the money, even if he spent it in drink or gambling.”

Unfortunately, if you’re serious about this, there’s also consumption tax (that’s VAT here in the UK) to avoid. This means ceasing to buy so much stuff. This is called minimalism or voluntary simplicity. Historically, it’s been seen as a highly virtuous way to live.

You can still do your civic duty by paying at least some consumption tax–perhaps on groceries and other noshable goods–and by paying your council or municipal tax. I love to pay my council tax because it funds the things I like and things that benefit the community instead of the central government and those armed forces and bombs. £140 a month (between two!) for clean water, sewage removal, garbage and litter collection, schools, libraries and parks is a bargain. Moreover, when you work less you’ll really get the most out of those things.

My advice to the tax-dodging rich is to get real and do it properly with your reputation intact. Stop working. Nobody will miss you. Retire with dignity to a nice cottage with a view somewhere and write your memoirs. Quietly. Maybe your book could be called How I learned to stop swindling the nation and love to loaf.

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

4 Responses to “How to Avoid Tax Properly”

  1. Escaping Accountant says:

    I think you might have fallen for George Osborne’s propaganda. While it’s technically correct that you can earn up to £11,000 this tax year without paying any income tax, once you’re getting £672 per month (or about £8,060 per year) you’ll be paying 12% national insurance – which is basically income tax by another name.

  2. You’re right as well. Goddammit.

  3. Spoonman says:

    I thought that council tax was strictly a London thing. So each city in the UK has its own council tax? Is the council tax paid once a year during tax time, or do you get a bill in mail? Thanks in advance, I’ve never lived in the UK.

    In the US cities make most of their money from property and sales taxes. The former tends to get baked into rent.

  4. Not just London, no, though theirs is probably remarkably in that it’s very high. Each city (or whatever area is covered by a council) has its own. You can either pay it once a year in one big lump (as I did last year) or monthly. In England for some reason water and sewage are separate bills to the council tax but here in Scotland they’re combined, which I think’s a great idea (one less transaction to worry about and doubtless certain administrative economies within the council).

    Even though I don’t mind council tax, I do like the way it’s done on your side of the pond. The wealthy (property owners) seem to pay more than renters and I that’s probably fair.

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