Margaret Hodge on Today this morning: she complains that KPMG is abusing the Patent Box by going to clients and telling them what’s in it for them. This is apparently inappropriate.
The intention of the Patent Box, apparently, was to get firms to invest in the UK – it was not intended to reduce their tax bills.
I really struggle to see how Hodge can argue this. I thought the whole point was a quid pro quo: if you invest in patents, you pay less tax. Is Hodge not trying to have her cake and eat it, here? She seems to be saying that firms are supposed to be incentivised, but they shouldn’t actually accept the incentives they’re offered.
I really can’t see why this doesn’t apply to ISAs too. ISAs are designed to encourage people to save, in return for which they get tax breaks. By Hodge’s arguments, people should save more – but to use ISAs to do so is tax avoidance. It’s an exact analogue.