Peter Hitchens, brother of the late Christopher and Catholic to boot, points out that there is no moral law that says everyone should pay as much tax as they can:
What on earth is moral about paying tax? A greedy, slovenly state forces you to hand over roughly half your money every year, by threatening to send you to prison if you don’t. Then it shovels that money carelessly down a huge hole. The Government is bad at almost everything it does. If you sent it out to buy you a loaf of bread, it would come back a week later with stale cake, and pretend it had lost the change.
People who can afford to do so avoid the wretched ‘services’ the state arranges in return for this legalised theft. What are these? Schools that teach sexual licence but not times tables or proper reading; police who are never there when you want them; hospitals plagued with inexcusable dirt and neglect; a welfare system that punishes thrift and encourages sloth.
Comedian Jimmy Carr has since said he made a terrible error of judgement over his tax arrangements
Meanwhile, the real essentials – the absolute vital duties of any government – are neglected or destroyed. Our borders are abandoned, our roads potholed, our Navy sunk, our Army soon to be small enough to fit into Wembley Stadium. As for criminal justice, where do I begin?
As it happens, I think I pay my taxes as fully as possible. Unlike several Left-wing commentators and broadcasters of my acquaintance, I don’t qualify for, and so don’t use, the obvious get-outs. But am I guilty if I take out an ISA (a form of tax avoidance) or set a charitable donation against tax? Certainly not. And if I were offered the chance to pay much less tax, simply and legally, I would take it.
The point was beautifully stated long ago by an American judge with the wonderful name of Learned Hand, who ruled: ‘Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the Treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes . . . nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.’
But it is not the same for the alleged comedian Jimmy Carr, a man whose jokes have been described by his own father as ‘cruel’, ‘dirty’ and ‘unkind’. Mr Carr has become famous and rich because of his modish Leftism. He’s for the things I’m against. He used to be noisily against tax-avoidance, and I suspect he still would be if he hadn’t been found out doing it. For him, and people like him, there is an obligation to pay lots of tax, because they worship the modern liberal welfare state. I recommend a minimum tax rate of 80 per cent for Leftist comedians, getting higher as they get more Left-wing.