The Seven Reasons Why Super-Rich British Tax Dodgers Don't End Up in Jail

THE PRISONS AREN’T BIG ENOUGH
Banking offshore isn’t, in itself, illegal. Luckily for some. Ronen Palan is Professor of International Politics at City University London and an expert in offshore tax havens. He told me that, if you were to wander into a hypothetical party in Mayfair and kick out everyone who banks offshore, the room would empty.

THE TAX AVOIDANCE INDUSTRY IS MASSIVE
While tax evasion (cheating the tax authority by not declaring assets or misrepresenting information) is a criminal offense in the UK, tax avoidance (using a legal scheme to reduce your tax) is legal. A huge, lucrative industry is built around it.

WE’RE BUSY CHASING BENEFITS CHEATS
HMRC claims (rightly) that prosecuting high-earning tax cheats is time-consuming and costly. Instead, it often comes to an arrangement out of court. However, the disparity between resources devoted to catching benefits cheats and wealthy tax dodgers is kind of conspicuous.

BECAUSE: THE IMPORTANT PEOPLE
The Swiss leaks uncovered accounts belonging to an impressive line-up of high-profile figures, from the heads of royal families to top bods in business, film, and sport. Having an account in a Swiss bank isn’t illegal and doesn’t prove tax avoidance; however, given the shady dealings which have emerged at HSBC, it’s hard to believe that everyone’s hands are clean.

THE LITTLE PEOPLE WILL PAY
A 2014 report by the Equality Trust revealed that the poorest 10 percent of British households pay eight percent more of their income in all taxes than the richest; 43 percent compared to 35 percent. And that’s before tax avoidance schemes have been taken into account. What the rich fail to put in, the rest of the country must cover in taxes like income tax and VAT.

WE’RE SCARED OF THE BANKS
According to lawyers, if UK bankers misbehaved in Switzerland, they can’t be prosecuted here unless they advised clients on UK soil, which, according to Panorama, they may have done. But how aggressively will they be pursued? Richard Brooks—former tax inspector, Private Eye writer, and author of The Great Tax Robbery—believes the answer is: not very.

THE UK TAX CODE IS BULLSHIT
The UK has the longest tax code in the world. It’s more than 17,000 jargon-packed pages long, loophole after glorious loophole. There is probably no one on the planet who understands our tax code in its entirety.

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'From the second floor balcony of my room at the Sol Trinidad hotel, Magaluf, I slowly drink a bottle of Tempranillo and watch objects from the seven floors above cascade down. There’s a plastic waste paper bin, an electric hair dryer, a pane of glass, watermelon husks, a banana skin, an apple, peanut shells and a slice of cheese. Shoes and socks (but never a pair), a bra, bottle tops and bottle bottoms, a can of deodorant, a watch, a wallet, a newspaper, myriad take-away cartons, toilet roll, a plastic fork and various yellow tinged liquids. Some items are projected or thrown, some items fall. Most worryingly of all, an increasing number of people fall. In 2012, 23 year-old Daniel Geary fell about 20ft from a balcony at hotel Martinique, sustaining serious head and back injuries.

British binge drinking followed by public order problems are reported as increasingly common in European holiday resorts. The statistics are alarming. Arrests of British citizens in Spain have increased by a third, with the majority related to alcohol consumption.’

- Reportage photographer Peter Dench is a prolific documentarian of British life, warts and all. His most recent project, The British Abroad, took him overseas to follow young Britons as they booze and cavort across Europe. Dench is now turning the work into a hardback book - Please help support the project

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The question tumblr has always wanted answered (it just didn’t realise it); 

WHICH REDCOATS LOOKED THE BEST?

Top set; 1730s - 1760s

Middle set; 1760s - 1790s

Bottom set; 1800s - 1820s.

Disclaimer - within these periods there were smaller changes, like the lace in the 1750s or the shako style in the 1810s, but these are broadly what they looked like.

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During World War II, Germany pummeled Britain for months on end with heavy bombing raids in a 1940-41 campaign termed the “Blitz” — meaning lightning in German.

Fearing German planes would drop gas bombs, authorities issued millions of gas masks to British men, women and children. The masks had to be carried at all times, and quickly pulled out during regular gas drills.

This being Britain, wearing a clunky gas mask apparently did not stop people getting on with both chores and hobbies.