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Adele, death and taxes

May 29, 2011

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.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. wartimehousewife permalink
    May 29, 2011 10:39 pm

    Here here.
    Yet again, I think it is often the middle earners who get hammered. Those earning massive amounts can absorb it, those on low wages pay less of it, but the bods in the middle, who just tip over into the 40% can end up with a lower take home pay than someone earning only marginally less.

    • Bored teenager permalink
      June 18, 2011 8:22 pm

      I’m new here so forgive me if I missed something. Could someone (perhaps @wartimehousewife?) explain to me how on earth someone “who just tip[s] over into the 40% can end up with a lower take home pay than someone earning only marginally less”??

      • Rab permalink*
        June 19, 2011 8:24 am

        Errrr… don’t know… the tax system is not my strong point.

        Oh, and welcome Bored Teenager.

  2. CharlieMcMenamin permalink
    May 31, 2011 4:28 pm

    I think you might mean ‘billions’ where you write ‘millions’. ( Even £120 m is basically ‘the sort of money you lose down the back of a sofa’ if you’re the UK government)

    But otherwise, yes.

  3. Rab permalink*
    June 1, 2011 7:45 am

    Article amended.

    Millions. Billions. Trillions. What’s the difference. It’s more money than I’ll every see…

  4. Dr. Disco permalink
    June 1, 2011 3:38 pm

    Millions, billions – apparently, it’s nothing in government.

    ““Between two and three billion pounds’ worth of energy is wasted every year because our homes are poorly insulated and inefficiently run,” Huhne said…”

    The difference being one billion pounds. Thank goodness he isn’t the Chancellor.

  5. June 5, 2011 12:59 am

    I don’t know who you are, Rab, but I love you almost as much as I love Wartime Housewife!

  6. Rab permalink*
    June 5, 2011 10:23 am

    Welcome Sarah.
    That is high praise indeed, for Wartime is lovely.

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