In case you weren’t aware of this being in the papers, it turns out that Barclays Bank managed to find a loophole and avoid paying about £500 million tax.
That’s a lot of money.
The Government was so annoyed about this that they introduced retrospective legislation. In other words, they made a law in the past to force Barclays to pay them the cash.
What seems odd about this is that if the Government had to introduce an additional law, that just proves that Barclays actually didn’t break the law in avoiding paying that tax, doesn’t it? It was tax avoidance rather than tax evasion. If British law is the plumbline against which our actions around tax are to be measured (and it should be), then Barclays didn’t do anything wrong.
But that just doesn’t seem right, does it? All of the papers were happy to stick it right on the front page: Barclays were naughty and didn’t pay their tax!
It would seem that everyone instinctively knows that there is some greater Law, which even national law must submit to.