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European Commission weighs in on tax avoidance row

Well it’s finally happened – the European Commission has decided to step in where the British Government seems to be unable by cracking down on tax avoidance.

Specifically – and this is where I rub my hands together in glee – the EC has made the decision to go after the biggest and most egregious of tax avoiders. Whereas Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs likes to kick around contractors and other self-employed Brits to make up whatever tax shortfalls they can, the EC is going the route HMRC can’t or won’t: large multinational companies like Starbucks, Fiat and Apple are squarely in the Commission’s sights.

Corporation tax avoidance is a common practice in big business, and it usually involves little more than the conveyance of shedloads of cash through foreign channels. Tax havens such as Luxembourg, the Netherlands and even Ireland are often the locale of choice for a multinational, their money trickling through any number of wholly-owned subsidiaries to avoid paying their fair share.

Now, the EC is going to determine once and for all if the tax avoidance schemes of these multinationals are illegal or not. A formal investigation sounds absolutely splendid to me, as I’m absolutely knackered having to explain again and again that these companies are essentially holding the UK economy hostage: if Ministers or MPs begin raising a fuss about a company such as Starbucks not paying their corporation tax, these companies often threaten to relocate offshore to a country with more amenable tax laws – and incidentally taking all their economy-supporting jobs with them. This makes the Government back down immediately – basically because no one in Westminster has any bollocks worth a tinker’s damn – and so the process continues ad nauseum.

At any rate I’m crossing my fingers that this will finally result in some real change, because frankly I’ve had it! These bastards have gotten away with too much for too long, and we need that tax revenue flowing into the coffers of local economies in order to finance the economic recovery. Besides, corporate greed is just so unfashionable nowadays.

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