Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Deja vu all over again with British taxes

One of my FriendFeed friends with a private feed quotes from the Beatles song "Taxman":

"Let me tell you how it will be. There's one for you, nineteen for me."

Because this post is in my business blog, I won't go into the whole thing about how George Harrison (the author of that particular song) and his fellow band members expanded the boundaries of music and threw away the limitations that reduced popular music to moon/spoon/June anyways...

This 1966 song was prompted by the then-current levels of British tax rates, which even some on the left side of the aisle argued were excessive and potentially harmful to British industry. It certainly had its effects on British music, as bands such as Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones temporarily fled the United Kingdom to get out from under the thumb (geddit?) of the British taxman.

Then, according to the popular tale, Margaret Thatcher saved the day. At least she saved the day if you were in the 95% tax bracket. Others may disagree.

But, as BusinessWeek notes, taxes are creeping up again, and guess what's happening?

Over the weekend, it emerged that Guy Hands, chief executive of the private equity company Terra Firma Capital Partners, which owns the giant EMI music group, has relocated to Guernsey.

The hedge fund grandee Crispin Odey is likewise understood to be considering taking his Odey Asset Management group, which controls more than £3bn, to a different tax jurisdiction. Mr. Hands's decision to move to the Channel Islands is understood to be entirely for tax reasons.

See the article for others who are considering the move to more friendly tax havens.
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