Google, Starbucks and Amazon – which is the odd one out?

Google, Starbucks and Amazon were all made to look foolish by the UK Parliamentary Committee inquiring into tax avoidance on Tuesday. But Amazon came off much worse than the rest. Why?

Starbucks put up its CFO and Google its VP for Northern Europe. Both knew their business well, even if they did not really have any defence against their tax practices. But Amazon fielded its Public Policy Director. What showed was that not only did he not have any defence against its tax practices, but he didn’t appear to know the business. As a result, another meeting of the Committee with Amazon will probably be scheduled.

What this shows is that issues of corporate responsibility cannot be left to those merely trying to defend the company’s image. It is not simply a matter for the dark art of better messaging, but a matter of actually doing business differently.

For my other posts on tax – search this site for ‘tax’.

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