Wednesday 28 December 2005

The state is not your friend

And neither is the EU. No surprise there of course, but that truth keeps popping up almost everywhere.

Consider the latest publication from the Institute of Economic Affairs. (No link yet to the actual book.) Richard Teather of Bournemouth University has written The Benefits of Tax Competition and in Chapter 8 he discusses the EU Savings Tax Directive. Never mind the boring details, just think about this:

Even for EU investors, however, the directive is full of holes and should be easily avoidable; indeed, the Swiss have dubbed it the "fools' tax" because only those who do not take proper advice will be harmed by it.
For around ten years I was the Finance Director of the UK subsidiary of a Swiss-owned company. And guess what? Such advice is indeed available AND IS BLOODY EXPENSIVE! So we have a situation in which the left-leaning EU administration is getting brownie points for soaking the rich but is doing so in a way that can be easily avoided by those who really are rich and can afford the right advice while the man on the Clapham, Copenhagen or Cologne omnibus gets stuffed.

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