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OECD to hatch master plan to stop tax avoidance?

Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen: the G20 group has tasked the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to stamp out tax avoidance.

Mainly an international advisory group for international tax and economic policy, the OECD  now has the dubious honour of coming up with some sort of game plan for discouraging multinationals from making use of international tax shelters and then presenting their findings to the G20 later on sometime this month. Good luck to them – if you ask me, solving this problem is going to take some serious ingenuity!

Tax avoidance committed by multinationals has become a serious hot-button issue in the current economic landscape, especially since so many countries are encountering tax revenue problems that could easily be solved if firms such as Starbucks, Amazon, and Google would just simply pay their fair share of tax in the countries that they do business in. Of course no one bothered these firms when the economy was humming along without a hitch, but now that the UK government – and the governments of other major developed nations – have been trying without much success to wring every last penny from their citizens, suddenly it’s become customary to look to corporations known for hoarding cash.

The main ideas behind the OECD plan are thought to be a universally-accepted set of core tax rules and regulations as they apply towards multinationals that are specifically geared to generate revenue for member countries. Business leaders have already begun to protest the planned changes – before they’ve even been made public or finalised, mind you – as being too restrictive. I can understand that; no one wants to see their profit margins scaled back by what could very easily be a considerable percentage, but let’s get real here: the government has multinationals in their sights and aren’t likely to let go without extracting a pound of flesh.

For what it’s worth, I think it’s about time that governments turned on their corporate paymasters. Enough of the high-profile lobbying and activities of that type; the time for kickbacks made to multinationals is over, if you ask me.

Let’s reclaim some of that revenue so we can re-instate important social services – not to mention take the heat off of small business owners such as contractors and freelancers who have been bearing far too much of the brunt of HMRC’s ire for far too long. Just ask someone who’s had to deal with an IR35 investigation that turned out to be erroneous but still prohibitively expensive if you don’t think the taxman’s been barking up the wrong tree over the past year or so.

 

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