Why is it so taxing?

Starbucks was recently accused of paying almost no tax in the UK. In fact it claims it won’t be doing so for several more years. The fact that this has gone on for about 16 years is surely not a testament to the incompetence of its management but to the commitment Starbucks has to the . . . → Read More: Why is it so taxing?

It's not a very taxing world

Cameron’s initiative to open up tax havens is a good start – despite the fact that the recent agreement is only one for the UK dependencies to develop an action plan to look at transparency, rather than actually to take any action. But there will still be a long way to go after the UK . . . → Read More: It's not a very taxing world

Tax turnover not profit: VAT's nice

The debate about the tax paid – or not paid – by companies doesn’t seem to have questioned whether the right thing is being taxed. Corporation tax is levied on profit which is the typically the difference between two much larger quantities: income and expenses. Companies have got very expert at adjusting the difference between . . . → Read More: Tax turnover not profit: VAT's nice

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 . . . → Read More: Google, Starbucks and Amazon – which is the odd one out?

Tax: how to tarnish your image

Both Starbucks and Amazon have been exposed as under-paying tax. How does this square with their nice CSR images? It doesn’t.

Starbucks have been doing good work in their supply chain and Amazon has been addressing packaging issues. But tax is not seen as a traditional ‘CSR’ issue. And it clearly hadn’t occurred to them . . . → Read More: Tax: how to tarnish your image

Searching for a better haven for tax

Google is up to its usual tricks: paying as little tax as it can. But it is no different from most other large and international companies. Are there any realistic challenges to the routine use of tax havens and the pursuit of the minimum tax bill?

Two things make Google an interesting case study: its . . . → Read More: Searching for a better haven for tax

Taxing codes

The Code of Practice that banks have signed up to – which is meant to stop tax avoidance – has a glaring loophole. The main provision says that banks “should not engage in tax planning other than that which supports genuine commercial activity”. But financial engineering (including tax planning) is a commercial activity. So there . . . → Read More: Taxing codes

Nothing is certain but death and taxes…

Unless you are a company, when it is all up for grabs…

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has challenged HM Revenue and Customs to come clean in its dealings with them. In the view of the Chair of the Committee, confidentiality should not be used as a cloak for companies. Whether this is . . . → Read More: Nothing is certain but death and taxes…

Taxing Corporate Citizens

If companies would like to be seen as ‘corporate citizens’, then they should expect other citizens (the public) to judge their actions from a moral perspective. They must expect the same horror of corporate tax avoidance as is shown towards MPs fiddling expenses. At the moment the public is largely unaware of the issue – . . . → Read More: Taxing Corporate Citizens