I make 70% of my income busking on London’s streets.
“It must be great,” people say, “because it’s all tax-free!”
I’m very happy to inform them how wrong they are; that even though my income is cash-in-hand and constantly fluctuating, even though I could easily keep HMRC in the dark, I declare every penny of it. Because it’s the right thing to do.
Avoiding a bit of tax here and there doesn’t strike many people as wrong, it feels like everyone is doing it. But personally, I feel very proud to pay tax. I was born in a hospital, educated in a school and one day I would like a state pension. I believe in the welfare state and protecting the vulnerable. Avoiding tax is like stealing money from people who need it more than you.
If there is one person who should know how important that tax money is, it is our Prime Minister, David Cameron. If Cameron really believes in this country, it’s future, the vulnerable, the education system and the NHS then why is he so reluctant to contribute to it?
What kind of example does that set, if our own Prime Minister doesn’t think taxes are worth paying? Why should I file a tax return on my bag of coins when he’s dodging a tax bill for his £200,000 inheritance?
The answer is that two wrongs don’t make a right. Of all people, the PM should see those loopholes as problematic, and be encouraging people to do the right thing. Not offer the rather pathetic excuse that “everyone else does it!”
If everyone decided to use tax loopholes and avoid doing their bit then our whole infrastructure would fall apart. And no amount of finger-pointing and lemming mentality will put it back together.
Even if I wanted to dodge the system and steal from the needy, on a busker’s salary I don’t have a fancy accountant to help me fiddle the numbers and ship half my coin purse offshore. So I guess I’ll just settle for a bit of honesty on my part and hope that I won’t always be paying into a system that is broken. That one day the same rules will apply to everyone.