In Spain, unlike what happens in other European countries, especially the Nordic ones, we still have little tax culture. Until recently there were those who boasted at the bar of not paying VAT or cheating on the income they declared to the Treasury, and that attitude was even applauded by those who listened. Little by little we are advancing in that necessary awareness of the importance in advanced societies that we all pay taxes, each according to our economic capacity.
This same week there has been an arduous debate on social networks, which has also been transferred to the media, about the attitude of El Rubius, a youtuber who has presumed to his followers to change his address to Andorra to pay less taxes (here up to 50% of personal income tax, in Andorra, 10%). And the excuse is that other “friends” have already done it, that they have already paid taxes in Spain for ten years, or even that they do not like how their taxes are invested. Without a doubt it is a reprehensible attitude that has received much more criticism than applause, which shows that something is changing in our country.
Even so, there is still a long way to go to avoid this type of behavior and other worse ones – such as tax fraud directly – to convince taxpayers of the need to pay taxes, and not only because if you don’t, the Treasury will catch you and it creaks you, that too. And there the attitude of the governments is fundamental in two aspects. On the one hand, taxes must be fair and in no case confiscatory and, furthermore, they must be well used. A good combination of both variables would make it possible to reduce fraud and the shadow economy as much as possible, which, in turn, would lead to better public services being provided. Also, if we all pay, we could pay less. It would be a “win, win”, we all win.
Based on these parameters, politics has its margin. Typically, the left bet on higher taxes to cover more public spending and the right on lower rates and to give more room to private initiative, and citizens must take this into account when casting our vote at the polls . Although the rule is not always fulfilled. And if we do not look at neighboring Portugal, with a left-wing government that has managed to win the favor of investors with cuts in selective taxes. Probably this friendly taxation explains that the Web Summit, one of the main global events in terms of digital entrepreneurship and technological innovation, chose Lisbon to settle and that the neighboring country has become a focus of attraction for multinational technological investment and a pole of attraction for thriving startups.
Apart from recriminating the selfish behaviors of those who transfer their tax residences outside their country, we must also learn several lessons. One of them is that politicians are wrong when they say they are going to raise taxes on the rich. If you raise taxes too much, the rich look to escape formulas. What we should not forget is that these characters deserve a social reproach, and in this case we have it easy. It is in our hands to stop following those youtubers or influencers and in the companies to stop sponsoring them. Perhaps that way it will not be so profitable for them to go to another country to pay taxes.