Thursday, 20 November 2014

Starbucks are at it again

The European Commission, the Brussels bit, have accused the government of the Netherlands and everybody's favourite multinational, tax-avoiding coffee chain - Starbucks, of cooking up some  cosy deal so the coffee shop pays  a very low rate of tax! This apparently is called a sweetheart deal.

So the Commission has launched an official investigation into the tax affairs of Starbucks, Apple and the car people Fiat.

These huge corporations are utterly shameless - they devote so much energy to dreaming up schemes that allow them to pay the smallest amount of tax they can possibly get away with, without the accounts department landing up in jail.

And then  they are so blasé about the whole bloody thing, I suppose it's just a disgraceful mindset they all pick up at accountancy college.

Now no one likes paying tax  but we all do: income tax, VAT, National Insurance, fuel tax, council tax.

So imagine you rang up HMRC (the taxman) one day and said: "I'd like to renegotiate how much tax I pay, this PAYE system is a bit harsh."

What do you think they would say?

That is exactly what corporations do - they NEGOTIATE with governments all over Europe over how much tax they are willing to pay. The Oxford English Dictionary defines tax thus: n. 1 a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on personal income and business profits  or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions. Now what's wrong with that? I think the key word there is compulsory.

There are other countries that the European Commission are interested in investigating; Cyprus, Ireland, Gibraltar, Luxembourg and Malta.


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