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Anti-avoidance rules

“I can’t believe they only lowered top rate tax to 45%. I mean, when you take account of national insurance, chambers rent and other expenses, I’m still only getting to keep 25 pence for every extra pound that I earn,” said UpTights.

“Some might say that that’s a nice problem to have,” smiled TheBusker.

“For me, the most dangerous part of the budget is the general anti-avoidance rule,” said OldSmoothie. “It’s the thin end of the wedge as far as I’m concerned.”

“What, you’re going to have to re-jig your tax affairs so that you avoid paying more tax without actually meaning to avoid it?” said BusyBody.

“No, my bigger concern is the idea of any form of general anti-avoidance rule. Imagine if they introduced such a rule with respect to other laws.”

“What, you mean a rule against legal advice as to how they can get around particular laws?” said TheVamp.

“Exactly,” said OldSmoothie.

“And no taking sniggly wiggly little technical points at court?” said Teflon.

“Quite so.”

A look of horror all round.

“But that’d mean forcing us to follow the spirit rather than merely the letter of the law,” said TheCreep.

“Now you’re getting it,” said OldSmoothie.

“But my whole practice is based upon avoiding the spirit of the law with sneaky little technical points. It’s precisely where I add value,” said HeadofChambers.

“To your clients, maybe, but it hardly benefits society as a whole,” said BusyBody.

“But, but, they wouldn’t…” said TheCreep. “They couldn’t…surely?”

“Well let’s just agree that any such notion shall never be mentioned again,” said UpTights. “We wouldn’t want to be giving them ideas, now would we?”

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan whose new novel is Law and Peace. For more information and to read past posts visit Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

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