Sat 14 February 2009, The Guardian

Closing the gap

Denis Healey had his own definition of tax avoidance . It differed from outright evasion, he said, in only one respect: "the thickness of a prison wall". Yet the old tax certainties have been blown away by one word: globalisation. A new world of borderless capital has been created, in which big companies and the super-rich have an unprecedented freedom to move their money to wherever it is taxed least. Over the past fortnight, the Guardian's investigation into tax has shone a light on this hidden and sometimes bizarre economy, in which the brightest minds in accountancy, business and finance dream up ever more exotic ways of avoiding tax. Far from breaking the law, this lucrative industry is often simply ahead of it. However tough the talk from Her Majesty's Revenue, it struggles to keep up with the battalions of clever, well-paid advisers who hunt out loopholes in every tax code. Professionals do not call it avoidance; they prefer tidy names such as "tax-efficient supply chain management".
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