politics religion

Patriots pay tax

Last year my friend and fellow Lutonian Andy Flanagan hatched the #PatriotsPayTax campaign with the team at Christians on the Left. This week they’ve launched a campaign video and a petition calling for a dedicated business unit within HMRC, Britain’s tax authority. The department is currently under-resourced, making it impossible to effectively chase up corporations and individuals who avoid their taxes.

#PatriotsPayTax is partly a response to the likes of Donald Trump, who claimed on the campaign trail that not paying his taxes made him smart. It’s also a neat example of re-framing an issue to cross political divides, and it was subsequently picked up by all Britain’s major parties during their conference season. Something similar was achieved with the Jubilee Debt campaign, which took a Christian principle and explained it in a way that caught people’s imaginations. (That idea is 20 years old now, believe it or not)

As Andy explains in the video, there’s no sacred/secular divide, no need to keep faith in a silo. Tax is a spiritual matter too. Whether you consider yourself a Christian or not, or on the left for that matter, it’s a petition worth supporting and you’ll find it here.



  1. Hi,

    I tried to post a comment on their website, but it looks like you need to be a paying member to do this. I also checked out their petition, the title is ‘Support the Effort Against Tax Avoidance!’, but the body of the petition calls for ‘a specific business unit to tackle corporate tax evasion’. It appears they don’t see a difference in the two, which to be honest seems to be the way most people who complain about it think of it.

    Anyway I am going to post my comment here, but it is aimed at the Christians on the left organisation


    I would love to know your definition of Tax Avoidance? To me Tax avoidance is making sure that I don’t pay tax that I don’t need to, whether that is using a financial scheme of some sort or some of the more mundane things, such as paying into a pension or ISA, it all reduces Tax Liability.

    It is true that large companies and wealthy people have more opportunity to save on their taxes, but I don’t see a problem with this. In the video you said ‘Render onto Ceasar that which is Ceasars’, to my mind if Ceasar puts a rule into place that allows you to render less then thats OK, isn’t it.

    I know that people (and organisations) cry out saying it’s unethical, its not Patriotic, but….. really? is it. If it is OK for me to use a rule that allows me to reduce my tax liability by putting money into a pension, then is it not also OK for a rich person or large company to also use a rule that allows them to reduce their tax liability.

    The system may not work well, but don’t criticise the people, fix the system.

    Good Luck

      1. Hi Jeremy,

        Yes, no doubt about it, they should be properly funded and yes they should be able to combat Tax evaders and be able to close unintentional loopholes in the system.

        However my point is that many people are demonizing companies and individuals who are not breaking any rules. In many cases the terms Tax evasion and tax avoidance are used interchangeably, for example on the Christians on the Left petition.

        To accuse people of being unpatriotic because they are only paying the tax that they are legally obliged to is just ridiculous. If it is unpatriotic to avoid tax then by definition anyone who pays into a pension or isa is unpatriotic, obvious nonsense. This, as far as I can tell, means that if a company or wealthy person is being persecuted for avoiding paying tax (that by law they don’t have to), then that is discrimination, isn’t it?

        I’m not a rich person and I don’t work for or have any interest in any large companies.


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