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Tax loopholes are targeted by the UK Treasury

In a move which many feel should have been made many years ago the UK government in tandem with the UK Treasury has announced a targeting of tax loopholes in the UK for both business and personal use in an attempt to catch as much tax on income from UK sources as possible. The subject of tax reforms has been thrust into the limelight after the announcement that Barclays Bank was successful in obtaining a gagging order on the Guardian newspaper which had published private internal documents relating to alleged tax avoidance schemes.

The Barclays Bank saga was covered on one of our posts yesterday but inadvertently it is the government which has attracted most criticism for "allowing" a mushrooming of tax avoidance instruments and schemes over the last decade. However, interestingly we heard John Varley defend these practices in a presentation to the House of Lords committee earlier this week. Quite rightly, Mr Varley, who is chief executive of Barclays Bank, suggested that the bank's directors are effectively at the beck and call of shareholders and are obliged to use whatever legal instruments to hand to reduce outgoings and maximise probability.

Who can honestly argue with that?

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