4% of British adults say tax avoidance is ‘morally justifiable’

Research conducted by International development charity, Christian Aid, reveals that only 4% of people polled regard the practice of tax avoidance by multinational companies as ‘morally justifiable’ and ‘fair’.

Is Tax Avoidance ‘Morally Justifiable’?

According to Christian Aid’s website the ComRes poll on attitudes towards tax avoidance aimed to ‘highlight the damage that tax abuse causes in countries rich and poor alike’.

Although tax avoidance is a legal way to reduce tax liabilities, over fifty percent of people asked agree with David Gauke that tax avoidance by multinational companies (MNCs) is ‘morally wrong’, and half of British adults polled argue that tax avoidance should be made illegal.

Following Jimmy Carr’s tax avoidance scandal in the news, Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, declared his view that tax avoidance is ‘morally repugnant’ and the government have sworn to adopt a tougher stance of tax dodgers in the UK.

The ComRes tax avoidance study, commissioned by international charity Christian Aid, questioned 2,2026 British Adults of their stance on tax avoidance and government’s promises that it will be addressed.

Results concluded:

50% think tax avoidance should be made illegal
56% think tax avoidance by MNCs is ‘morally wrong’
4% think that tax avoidance by MNCs is ‘morally justifiable’
79% think it is too easy for MNCs to avoid tax in the UK
81% think MNCs financial accounts should be publicly available
75% think MNCs get preferential treatment from the taxman
74% think Prime Minister, David Cameron, should be seeking international action on tax dodgers
38% think the government’s promise to tackle tax avoidance is genuine
65% think more importance should be placed on closing legal tax avoidance loopholes
55% think government should place more importance on helping developing countries fight tax avoidance
Senior Economic Justice Advisor at Christian Aid, Joseph Stead, said:

“This poll shows there is a huge appetite for international action to tackle tax dodging both domestically and in developing countries. The public are clear that the government is not acting sufficiently and that companies need to open their books more.”

Of those polled who disagreed with tax avoidance, these were their main concerns:

67% said tax avoidance takes money from public services (schools, police, NHS)
33% said tax avoidances means government has less money to tackle poverty
28% said tax avoidance damaged multinational’s reputations
25% said tax avoidance means developing countries rely more on aid
Niall Cooper of Church Action on Poverty, Christian social justice charity, said:

“The results are overwhelming. If the government is to listen to the peoples, they must do more to combat tax avoidance and evasion. In this time of austerity, rich-tax-dodging companies are robbing people in poverty of the vital services they depend upon.

“If we put a stop to tax dodging the government could have an extra £35 billion a year to invest in local public services such as hospitals, schools and emergency services, and to better tackle UK poverty.”

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