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Cadbury not so sweet when it comes to paying its fair share

So much for “sweets for the sweet:” UK chocolate manufacturer Cadbury has been caught out neglecting to pay its fair share of taxes in the past!

Everyone likes a bit of chocolate now and again, don’t they? I know I do, anyway – but I might start re-thinking my purchase of any Cadbury products after I recently found out that the firm was running a massive tax avoidance scheme as late as a decade before it was bought out in 2010 by US food conglomerate Kraft – as if that wasn’t bad enough!

According to new reports that just saw the light of day Cadbury was making around £100 million in annual profits prior to the much-maligned sale to Kraft Foods. That’s all well and good, but the problem is that Cadbury was only paying around £6.4 million in taxes every year – and that’s less than a 7 per cent tax rate! Where can I get such a great deal?

It’s really quite shocking when you think about how aggressive Cadbury went about their tax avoidance practrices, especially in light of the fact that the firm was founded by a Quaker philanthropist with a serious reputation for charitable donations. I suppose things change in the nearly 200 years the chocolate maker has been around; suddenly it’s more about squeezing every last penny from a Curly Wurly bar than it is to give back to the community. Shame, that.

It’s rather funny to think about how hot the debate was in the House of Commons over the tax implications of the sale of Cadbury to Craft a few years ago, considering how one of the main arguments against the sale was the possibility of HMRC losing out on a major bit of tax revenue. Well, looks like we were losing out on tax revenue anyway, thanks to the ‘creative accountancy’ efforts of Cadbury.

This just goes to show how badly the UK tax law needs to be revamped and how the current tax loopholes need to completely and utterly eradicated to prevent this kind of tomfoolery. I for one am quite tired of having to read about these multinationals refusing to pay their fair share, though I do wonder: does Kraft pay more tax for its operations in the UK right now than Cadbury did in years past? If so, the buyout might have been an actual relief for the UK taxpayer!

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