Adele, death and taxes
This week Adele faced the wrath of Twitter for complaining bitterly about her tax rate. What she actually said was she was ‘mortified to have to pay 50%’. Well, you know what they say about death and taxes.
Adele added that she wanted to ‘buy a gun and randomly open fire’ when she saw the bill. What followed was much shaking of heads and admonishment from the public gallery.
Many pop stars find paying tax an imposition and go into tax exile – Rod Stewart, David Bowie and Mick Jagger, for instance. My own particular favourite is Phil Collins, who recorded the cloying, Another Day on Paradise, about the indignities of homelessness, just before fucking off to Switzerland rather than pay his whack.
Adele, however, hasn’t fled the country (yet), so why is so much opprobrium being heaped upon her when others, much more deserving of it, are avoiding the flack (as well as the tax)? This looks like classic transference, for it is easier to let all those negative feelings we harbour about tax-dodging go into pillorying a silly, young pop-starlet than to take on real tax dodgers.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs recorded last year that there is a tax gap of £42 billion, although that figure is disputed. It might be closer to £120 billion. Whatever, the gap is a consequence of some of the biggest corporations and wealthiest people avoiding tax. George Osborne put it very eloquently when he said: ‘Some of the richest people in this country have been able to pay less tax than the people who clean for them.’
Now that really is something to make you want to buy a gun.