Saturday, September 23, 2006

Righting an Unfair Taxation System by Louis Evan Palmer

Creating & Using
Tax & Other Laws
and Regulations
to Avoid
Contributing to

In the area of taxation as with many other areas of public policy and governance, we are firmly in the grip of a tyranny of half-truths: the true part is used to propagandize, silence opposition and cudgel dissent; the false part is used to accrue power & influence and to cheat and steal from the public and other purses.

The cheating & stealing can be of an active kind where existing resources, in particular, money and other highly liquid assets, are somehow appropriated; or, more subtlely, a kind of theft that is apparently passive - where assets that are due are not paid, are not paid in full, are not paid on time, or are transferred in full or in part to other parties, especially the public trust in its multiple guises.

An important half-truth in the taxation area, specifically corporate taxation, is that which claims that tax avoidance for specified publicly-sanctioned reasons is a "Good" and therefore, within certain discretionary limits, is to be encouraged.

Valid studies which can assert in unambiguous terms that such-and-such tax exemption worked and how well it worked are few and far between. The key factor, that tax exemptions are a different form of tax credits but without transparency or solid governance, is conveniently omitted.

Also, lost in the rampant rush to grab as much as possible from various tax exemptions, is the fact that very often no limits are set on how much can be claimed in a given year, or over a set number of years. Where individual tax forms are careful to circumscribe deductions for everything, the bounds on corporate tax exemptions are often generous to the point where major corporations pay no tax, or very little, for years.

The proffered reason, more an article of elitist faith than anything, is that society gets back all, or much, of that lost tax revenue and other benefits. Typically, there's no proof and no pudding for these and other similar assertions.

The recommendation is for all forms of tax avoidance and exemption legislation to be removed from the law books and other supporting regulations & advisories. This includes RRSP regulations which are realistically only available to a more financially privileged segment of the population and are therefore unfair.

Economic remedies must be instituted as programs which are auditable and subject to public review & debate. As well, minimum taxation levels must be set for all reporting entities, in particular corporations and their wealthy executive offspring.

All reporting entities should be paying a fair share of the monies required to keep the system & infrastructure running and improving and, where necessary, expanding. It is grossly unjust that some major corporations and their directors, that arguable are benefiting the most from our society, should squirm and wriggle their way out of paying their fair contribution back to that society.

Claims, usually more the privileged bleating of obscenely over-paid corporate executives, that zero taxes are somehow fair and right, should be treated with the same firmness and alacrity that the Tax authorities seem to reserve for those lower down on the food chain.

All benefit, All pay.

Righting an Unfair Taxation System, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 

He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications. 


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