So Leeds loudmouth Chris Moyles has been claiming to be a used car salesman to avoid paying tax.
Some might say it sounds like the perfect job for him now that he is not on Radio One anymore, except perhaps for used car salesmen and women who tried to shed the gobby, grubby image he personifies years ago.
Basically, the celebrated son of our city filed a tax return stating that he had run up losses of £1m trading used cars.
But a tribunal decided his scheme was all about avoiding tax, not selling cars.Now, he will have to repay the amount he saved. Mr Moyles has expressed his remorse on Twitter, saying he acted on advice, was naive about financial matters and now realises he made a mistake.
It was the second time he had tried to avoid tax. In 2012 it emerged he had been using the same offshore scheme as comedian Jimmy Carr, which helped the rich pay as little as one per cent in tax, while most of us pay twenty per cent on our much smaller salaries.
So, basically, all the while Chris Moyles was acting like the bloke-next-door on Radio One, he was privately behaving like a member of a very elite group of people in this country: those who are wealthy, privileged, have the world at their feet, but do not believe in responsibility. So they find devious ways to keep their money, while we little people pay to keep the country on track.
We hand over a big percentage of our cash to help keep hospitals open, children in school and soldiers properly equipped - but they do not.
Chris Moyles is just one of many, of course. One of those people who feel they are entitled to our admiration, even our respect, while they actually do much less for the country than the average tax payer.
At his height, he was earning £630,000 for presenting the Breakfast Show, and no doubt he earned plenty more elsewhere. Jimmy Carr is a millionaire many times over and thousands pay to watch his shows where he uses his rapier wit to poke fun at many targets, though he didn’t seem to find it so funny when his own tax arrangements were exposed. He apologised for his “terrible error of judgment.”
At the BBC, the big names are paid their big fees as if they are companies, not individuals to cut their tax bill. And then there are the massive global companies like Starbucks and Amazon who seem able to come up with any number of ways to avoid tax.
It’s wrong, isn’t it? Even if it’s not illegal, it is immoral. Those who have the most shouldn’t keep the most, that isn’t how fairness works.
We are meant to be becoming a more ethical, caring society. Even crime figures are falling. So this selfish placing of the burden on the shoulders of others doesn’t fit.
Here’s my pledge: if ever I get to be rich I will pay my fair share of tax. I won’t set up dubious accounts in tax havens, I won’t spend half the year in another country, I won’t pretend to be a used car seller. I will just pay. Because I will be able to afford to and because I don’t see why the bill should be picked up by people with less.
You may say I can pledge with confidence because I will never be rich, but still I mean it. It’s a pact - just like the one I made with my sisters that if ever we are left any money we will share it equally, no matter what the will says.
So I’m glad that those who shirk their responsibilities are getting a hard time - because they deserve it.
Those other “scroungers”, the ones who make a career of living on benefits, have a mighty spotlight shone on them, so it seems only right that the people who deprive our nation’s coffers of much more should get a share of the publicity.