What are you proud that your taxes are spent on? - "To ensure everyone gets health care & every child gets education!" - Jeremy Corbyn
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” Benjamin Franklin
That may have been the case in the eighteenth century, but evidence suggests that Franklin’s wisdom may no longer hold in the twenty-first. In August 2016, the European Commission found Apple guilty of receiving illicit state aid from the Republic of Ireland to reduce its tax bill by €13bn. Earlier in the year, the Panama Papers shocked the world, revealing the extent of tax avoidance by wealthy individuals. It is clear that, in this day of globalised finance, it is increasingly easy for corporations and rich individuals to move money across borders, and take advantage of unwieldy tax codes to minimise their tax liabilities. Death may remain a certainty. Taxes, less so.
At Christians on the Left, we believe in a society to which all contribute, and which cares for all its citizens. When implemented fairly, taxation should not be seen as a burden but as a contribution to the common good. Paying tax funds vital public services, providing benefits for the most vulnerable, making healthcare and education accessible to all and guaranteeing our national security. All individuals and companies depend on governments to uphold the rule of law, invest in infrastructure and manage the economy. It is not right that some should reap these benefits without making their contribution.
Furthermore, we believe that we have a biblical mandate to submit to our earthly authorities, 'for there is no authority except that which God has established' (Romans 13:1 NIV). As Jesus made clear, abiding by the law of the land involves giving back to Caesar what is Caesar's (see Matthew 22:21). This means that as upright and godly citizens, in respecting our democratically-elected leaders, we should pay our fair share of tax. So should everyone else.
We therefore consider it shameful that tax avoidance and evasion cost the government billions of pounds in lost revenue each year. Those who engage in such activities are not escaping heavy-handed interventionism, rather they are abdicating their moral responsibility and ignoring their duty to their country. Paying tax is not an act of surrendering freedom. It is patriotic. #patriotspaytax
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