Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Innocents abroad

BBC News:

Two Japanese sisters have been arrested for allegedly trying to evade paying a fortune in inheritance tax. Tax officials say the sisters hid almost 6bn yen ($58m) in cardboard boxes and paper bags at their home in the city of Osaka. They are accused of failing to declare most of the money they inherited from their wealthy father, who died almost four years ago.

I always feel sad when someone gets caught by the taxman, although I don't feel strongly about inheritance taxes. Those sisters didn't earn the money themselves, so their moral claim to it is relatively weak. However, the government's moral claim to it seems to me non-existent.

I'd feel more sympathy for the sisters if they'd shown more intelligence. I'm not sure what's the best way to hide a large inheritance, never having had to deal with the problem myself, but stashing banknotes around the house in cardboard boxes and paper bags seems somewhat lacking in sophistication. And they had four years to find some better solution.

Hell's bells, even burying the banknotes in the garden would probably have been an improvement. But it would have been better to get the money out of the country somehow.

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