A taxing issue

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Whenever there is a case of ­celebrities having their investment schemes being dis-allowed for tax relief purposes we are subjected to heavy-handed sarcasm, such as that from James Morison (Letters 14 May), which serves no purpose other than to obscure the issue.

I would ask Mr Morison, and just about anyone else if they were offered a lawful opportunity to reduce their tax payment now or in years to come, would they refuse to take it on the grounds of the greater good or national necessity, eg to pay for Trident’s replacement, Edinburgh’s trams or Alex Salmond’s swanky hotel room at the golf? I should imagine the number of philanthropes could be counted on the digits of a sloth.

The prevalence of perfectly legal (ie not criminal) tax avoidance schemes – which may or may not pass civil judicial scrutiny – shows that the revenue collection mechanisms in this country are overloaded and overblown. A complete review of tax law, including (indeed starting with) VAT and huge simplification, charging a lower but universally acceptable flat rate is what is needed. As is doing away with huge numbers of enforcers at HMRC and their counterpart lawyers and accountants in the private sector, not playground, ill-informed sniping.

Magnus K Moodie

Boswall Terrace

Edinburgh