Tag Archive | "corporation tax"

Caffe No Tax – “Not a Bean”


If you sold £288 million pounds worth of lattes last year, then how much tax would you expect to pay? “Not a bean,” is an answer that would be surprising.

However, the popular coffee shop called “Caffe Nero” have apparently done exactly that, to the point where on their official tax form for the last 10 years…there has not been a single penny paid to HMRC.

“That is strange,” many pundits have commented, especially when you consider that other similar companies are paying quite a bit of cash in corporation tax, year in and year out.

Even our very own hard working contractors. The very people who are the foundation of British economic success. Well, they are paying more tax than Caffe Nero, apparently, which just isn’t right if you ask me.

Sure, you can hire a contractor accountant to save you money on your tax return, which many people who visit this site do (just look to the right of the page for the best accountants), but it still doesn’t feel right that many of these big companies are getting away scott free.

Italian Coffee Holdings is the name that officially has been registered with companies house, although “Caffe Nero” is what your average man and woman on the street will know them by.

Some people march in there first thing in the morning, eager to get served their morning latte before rushing off to the office, another busy day on the cards no doubt.

Others, on the other hand, are more relaxed in their approach to coffee drinking. They stroll in at 11am on a weekday, put their feet up and enjoy a flat white. “Caffe Nero sure does make good coffee,” they say.

They also hire good accountants it seems, who are no doubt working around the clock to ensure that Caffe Nero is always the coffee shop that pays “tax zero.”

Who knows exactly what is going on here though? For all we know Italian Coffee Holdings, Caffe Nero and the accountants who they hire…well, they could be doing everything by the book and by the law. Only a court and a judge can decide otherwise.

Usually, corporation tax comes in at 19% on the profits that a company makes during the year, although Italian Coffee Holdings have paid nothing because they actually recorded a loss.

That’s right. While Caffe Nero are doing nearly £300 million quid in coffee sales per year, the company behind them are supposedly losing money.

Just what are they doing with all that money? Do they pay their servers £200 an hour or something? Perhaps all of you IT contractors should scrap the computer for the coffee machine, and don the Caffe Nero uniform to make the real money.

“Would you like a donut with your coffee, sir?” is what you will say, safe in the knowledge you are going to earn £2000 for a 10 hour shift.

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HMRC Confirm IR35 Rule Change to Go Ahead


In a move that has sparked outrage among many contractors throughout the UK, it has been confirmed that HMRC are changing the way the IR35 is policed within the public sector.

This has been on the horizon for a few months now, with many experts predicting they wouldn’t actually go through with it. It seems like they were wrong though, with the new rule change expected to be enforced very shortly.

It was first announced during the 2016 budget by George Osborne, as he outlined his intention to clean up the public sector and catch out “contractors” who should really be classified as employees, and in turn pay more tax. However, many people are arguing that what will really happen is that innocent contractors will get wrongly and unfairly classified as employees, leading to them being taxed extra in the process.

A representative of HMRC by the name of Philip Horswill recently stated that 400 million pounds was lost last year due to around 90% of contractors in the public sector not paying the correct tax, although he defended the new IR35 rule changes, saying it was “not a tax grab.”

So what are we to make of all this? In my own personal opinion I can see both sides of the story. Yes there will be contractors who end up paying too much tax and lose a lot of the benefits they currently enjoy, while at the same time it goes a long way in helping to clean up the public sector and stop a lot of people cheating the system. Let’s face it, £400 million a year is no joke, and if this really is the kind of money that is being held back from HMRC then something needs to be done.

On a side note, there had been some reports that HMRC have been planning to roll out similar measures in the private sector over the next few months. However, Philip Horswill claimed this is not the case at all, and there are no plans in the future for more rule changes. I think this is the right move, as the public sector is quite a unique scenario in regards to IR35.

With all that being said, it’s expected that many contractors will challenge the decision once all the rule changes go ahead, with many experts predicting this may end up costing the HMRC a lot of time and money in contesting cases and appearing in court.

While this probably will end up being the case to some degree, there is no denying that HMRC needs to move forward in some capacity regarding the public sector and IR35. One thing we can all agree on…it’s certainly going to be interesting to see what happens.

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EU struggles with corporate tax avoidance


Much like here at home in the UK, member states of the European Union can’t seem to get a handle on how to manage corporate tax avoidance.

It’s one thing to have MPs here at home argue for and against any number of tax avoidance measures to curb corporate tax dodgers.We’re used to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs talking big but then backing down at the last minute, instead leaving self-employed blokes like personal service company contractors and freelancers to shoulder the tax burden that should be rightfully laid at the feet of multinationals sheltering their taxable income in overseas havens.

Meanwhile, it turns out that things aren’t that different when it comes to the European Union, with EU ministers again talking a good game to curb corporate tax avoidance. Will this actually materialise into real change? Most likely not. I mean let’s just be honest here.

The big brouhaha at the moment is all about the Panama Papers, those cleverly leaked documents highlighting just how many massively rich corporations and individuals are making use of international tax shelters to avoid paying their fair share. Public outrage is high, and as a result everyone is clamouring for something, anything, to be done.

The leaked documents were called a “game changer” by Alexander Stubb, the Finnish finance minister. His French counterpart, Michel Sapin, likewise called the revelations “intolerable” for citizens of the EU. Yet at the same time German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble expressed his reluctance to sign on to a plan that would make large companies required to disclose their taxes paid and their profits made internationally, citing concerns about leaving companies and individuals on display in a “public pillory.”

Well you know what I say? Maybe dragging these bastards out into the light and forcing them to confront public scrutiny would be a good thing for once. Maybe it’s just me but I think we’ve all become too afraid of offending these big multinationals because they threaten to pull up their tent stakes and relocate offshore to countries with more amenable tax laws. That’s extortion, plain and simple, and it’s time we stood up to these companies – not to mention the finance ministers and other professional politicians that they have in their back pockets, constantly writing and passing legislation that benefits only the top income earners around the world instead of the rest of us. Change needs to happen, and not just here at home but in the EU, in the US, and around the damned world.

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This is what contractors want from today’s Budget


While Chancellor George Osborne drones on today about the new Budget, here’s what contractors, freelancers and other small business owners would like to hear.

Just in time for the chancellor to reveal new tax planning measures in the Budget, a new YouGov survey of SMEs – which includes freelancers and contractors – has discovered that the kinds of things that self-employed Brits want to see discussed include things like late payments and tax relief. The survey, which polled more than 800 business owners of firms that had 50 employees or fewer, found that the most wanted subject was further relief from corporation tax for small businesses and start-ups.

Small businesses just need corporation tax breaks, as the majority of the respondents said they had less than £1 million in turnover. In fact, those surveyed said they would like to see business rates rubbed out of existence completely for any firm that has less than £800,000 in turnover.

Next up was a call for more straightforward tax, especially when it came for small firms, sole traders and self-employed contractors. HMRC needs to tackle the issue of tax returns, these respondents said, though most of the respondents that ranked this choice high tended to work in accounting and finance roles.

Meanwhile, the third most popular choice was support for late payments. Small firms need more support in dealing with late payments from larger companies, as these bigger firms have a tendency to bully contractors, freelancers, and SMEs by delaying payment for goods and services. There needs to be stricter penalties for these late payments, and small business owners want these penalties enforced on large firms that keep paying them late.

It’s obvious from these top three that SMEs are sick and tired of being pushed around by larger firms – or being subjected to things like corporation tax when multinational companies seem to have a knack for getting away without paying even a penny in some situations. Whether or not George Osborne is going to address any of these things remains to be seen, but honestly I’m not going to hold my breath. The chancellor doesn’t really have much of a proven track record when it comes to supporting SMEs and contract workers, though I suppose we could all be pleasantly surprised today couldn’t we?

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Contractors face higher tax compliance costs, AAT says


The Association of Accounting Technicians says that small business owners and other self-employed Brits pay too high a cost when it comes to tax compliance.

So it’s true that sole traders like contractors might take home more pay than a traditional employee for certain jobs, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not subject to higher compliance costs – or at least that’s what the AAT says. In fact, a new survey by the accounting experts says that SMEs – which include sole traders and self-employed Brits – end up bearing the brunt of tax compliance within the country.

The AAT’s figures, if they’re accurate, are particularly damning. Large-scale firms in the UK pay around £100 million towards tax compliance every year according to the study, yet SMEs spend £9.9 billion on the same thing on an annual basis. That’s an eye-watering gap if you ask me – and likely if you ask anyone else – and the AAT can’t seem to figure out why smaller-scale business are paying such a massive discrepancy.

The AAT says that the tax system needs to be simplified in order to make it more equitable. If you ask me, it’s going to take more than a little bit of tinkering with tax regulations in order to remove the ridiculous £10 billion tax burden that SMEs are labouring under, despite the fact that they contribute so much to the recovering economy. I’d love to see something down about this where larger firms take the brunt of the burden instead of the other way around – and I’m very much interested in finding out why we can’t go after major multinationals that do business in the UK yet are permitted to pay nearly nothing in corporation tax every year by using completely transparent tax avoidance schemes.

Why do companies like Amazon, Starbucks and Google get off Scot-free while contractors and sole traders are being crushed under the weight of this ridiculously large tax burden? Well, short answer is of course that these companies are rich and powerful and can afford to buy their way out of nearly anything. If contract workers had the same amount of political clout as multinationals,  you better believe the tables would be turned right quick!

 

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EC has bad news for Amazon and its Luxembourg arrangement


Bad news for Amazon: the European Commission sounds like it’s rather convinced the tax arrangement it has with Luxembourg is going to qualify as state aid.

This is, of course, rather bad news for the internet retailer, as the multinational could end up getting raked over the coals for some rather suspect behaviour when it comes to paying its corporation tax – or not paying its corporation tax, for that matter. I’m not saying that Amazon has been using Luxembourg as a tax shelter to avoid paying its fair share, but well if the shoe fits why not wear it?

Meanwhile, in its defence Amazon says that it hasn’t received any special tax treatment from the little city state that, coincidentally, stays relevant on an international stage by acting like a tax haven for the rich and powerful. Amazon says it’s subject to the same tax laws as any other company operating out of Luxembourg, which of course is exactly the problem: the country makes a living out of providing a tax shelter for all sorts of companies operating throughout the eurozone and beyond.

The Luxembourg finance ministry got into the act as well, ratting its sabre about how these so-called baseless and meritless allegations will be dismissed by the Commission. Meanwhile, the Commission doesn’t just launch investigations because it doesn’t have anything to do with itself; it’s fairly obvious to anyone with more than two brain cells that companies set themselves up in Luxembourg in order to conduct some systematic tax avoidance.

Honestly do these big firms really think they’re fooling anyone when it comes to claiming innocence? No one actually believes it, right? There’s not some incredibly gullible collection of people somewhere that actually believe a massive multinational when it says something about playing by the rules, is there? Because there’s literally no reason to trust a multinational at all. These firms are all geared towards one thing: making as much profit as possible. That means selling products or services at the highest price they can and by then paying as little as possible in outgoings – and if there’s a way to cut out large swathes of tax liability in ways that might be technically legal but just barely, don’t you think these firms would all jump at the chance?

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Cameron begs for votes by touting tax avoidance initiatives


Prime minister David Cameron has pulled out the big guns when it comes to campaigning for another Conservative government, pledging more tax avoidance action.

The PM gave a speech this week, stating that if voters would just give the Tories one last teensy weensy itty bitty chance to make things right once more and vote them back into office, he promised that he would spearhead another crackdown on tax avoidance in order to fill the country’s coffers.

Cameron talked the talk, stating that he wanted to see the UK ‘living within its means,’ likening the country to a pensioner who doesn’t know how to manage his finances or something of that nature. Apparently the Government in general is the equivalent of a senile old geezer living in a council estate somewhere who spends his pension foolishly down at the pub or something. I don’t know where he was going with the analogy.

At any rate, Cameron said in his speech that he could see another Conservative government squeezing an additional £5 billion in otherwise unpaid tax on an annual basis if voters just gave the party another chance. Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure that any contractors or freelancers out there that have already been raked over the coals by HMRC for so-called tax avoidance is going to be less likely to want to vote for these plummy blokes once again – or perhaps at all. I don’t know too many people who voted Tory in the last general election. At least none that would admit it today anyway!

Listen, I’m not going to say that the Conservatives haven’t been burning the midnight oil in trying to extricate as much unpaid taxes as they possibly can. The problem is that they’re not going after these big multinationals that do the most damage when it comes to not paying things like corporation tax. Then again what can you expect from a political party that is so bloody afraid of these multinationals pulling up stakes and fleeing the country – and taking their precious jobs with them? The Tories might like to talk tough about austerity and cutting costs but truth be told if they would just gather up all that unpaid corporation tax we wouldn’t have to face austerity measures in the first place!

 

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Taxman lauded for changes to its digital VAT approach


It’s a Christmas miracle: Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has been given high praise for finally changing its approach to VAT for digital firms.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation, a group of blokes that definitely know what they’re talking about when it comes to VAT, corporation tax, and all other sorts of ways the Treasury fills its coffers, offered high praise to HMRC, recently stating that an untold number of firms that need to register digital service European VAT will save thousands of pounds under the tax authority’s new rules. Now, any of these firms won’t have to charge British customers VAT rates as long as they don’t go over an £81,000 turnover threshold. This new threshold is highly likely to include all sorts of sole traders like contractors and other self-employed people, so that’s just brilliant news if you ask me.

The regulations, comically known as the VAT Mini One Stop Shop, have thankfully been amended to exempt anyone under that threshold in the UK, where it previously covered absolutely everyone. CIOT says that it’s likely there will be something like 34,000 firms – almost all of them smaller operations – exempt from having to deal with VAT in the UK now as a result. That’s a serious boon for the economy, as now these small firms and little outfits like contractors and other self-employed sole traders can keep more of their cash and not have to say goodbye to so much of their revenue being sucked off into the ether through VAT. The trade industry body called a ‘common sense approach’ to European VAT, and I have to agree wholeheartedly.

Of course there are some that will argue that the exemption amount needs to be raised. Bollocks to that I say; if you’re making that much money then you can afford to pay UK VAT as far as I’m concerned. This is all about providing more support to small businesses here at home and we absolutely must do everything in our power to do so. It’s the best way to grow our economy here at home, and that’ll have a wonderful knock-on effect for the global economy as well; any VAT revenue we lose from the new threshold is so minimal as to be practically nonexistent anyway, if you ask me!

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PwC dragged over the coals by MPs


MPs enraged and frustrated over PricewaterhouseCooper’s role in corporate tax avoidance dragged the firm over the coals in Westminster, looking for answers.

Parliament was awash with dramatic posturing recently, with Kevin Nicholson, PwC’s tax chief, getting grilled long and hard about the company’s corporate tax avoidance practices in Luxembourg. Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, let Nicholson have it with both barrels in the wake of a leak detailing the tax arrangements of countless firms.

Well, not countless exactly – the leaked documents named 343 different companies that PwC aided in reducing their tax liabilities through process known as a ‘hybrid loan.’ In other words, a firm ‘pays the interest’ on a loan that it made to itself through a subsidiary in Luxembourg; suddenly, all that cash is no longer taxable. It’s bollocks, but apparently it’s legal… though this didn’t exactly fill Hodge with sweetness and light. In fact, she came out and said that it’s nothing more than ‘a mass marketed tax avoidance scheme,’ and for what it’s worth I have to agree with her!

Honestly I’m not surprised that Hodge is going at it hammer and tongs with Nicholson, especially how she’s angling to be next Labour candidate for Mayor of London. She’s certainly showing her teeth here, making it obvious that she’s unafraid to take on big businesses. She even didn’t let Nicholson’s barely veiled sexist insult faze her either; the PwC chief said that the firm was just selling advice, and that it was nothing ‘like buying a dress in Marks and Spencers.’

I beg your pardon, but that statement is completely out of line on Nicholson’s part. Did he use the example of a dress because Hodge was a woman? Or is he just a bloody idiot? There’s no way to know for sure, I”m afraid – but I’m rather convinced that it’s quite a bit of both cases if you ask me. This Nicholson bloke sounds like a real pillock to me. I hope Hodge chews him up and spits him out, right on the floor of Westminster. That’s probably a bit too good for him though, especially considered how he and his firm have been instructing customers to engage in tax avoidance. Quite literally telling them to sneak off with big bags of cash and taking them to Luxembourg. What a rotten bastard!

 

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Government’s new ‘Google Tax’ likely to cause row


The new so-called ‘Google Tax’ announced by the Government, specifically to counteract multinationals, is likely to cause a massive row.

Tax avoidance experts say that there’s a ‘legal quagmire’ in the offing thanks to Chancellor George Osborne and his decision to move forward on a crackdown ahead of international standards from the EU are put into place. Not only that, but contractor accountants and tax lawyers say that the test to determine profits that have been ‘artifically diverted’ isn’t clear enough.

Now, for what it’s worth, the new rules are borne out of necessity; multinationals like Google use the so-called ‘double Irish’ system to move their massive millions – or even billions – out of the country so as to avoid paying anything in corporation tax here in the UK. Firms like Starbucks say they have no intention of paying any corporation tax in the next three years, if you can believe it.

Meanwhile, the new proposal, that goes into effect on 1 April 2015, firms will have to disclose to tax officials if they’re in danger of falling afoul of the 25 per cent diverted profits tax. Companies that sell goods or services to Brits but lack a permanent British establishment, or companies with a permanent British arm but avoid paying corporation tax by transferring money to other company branches outside UK fall under the new tax.

You don’t need an advanced degree in economics to know that there’s going to be a massive backlash against the new tax law when all these multinationals see how their profit margins are in question. These firms have some big, powerful, and very well-paid legal experts that are sure to turn the screws when it comes to finding ways to weasel out of this, so it’s only a matter of time before this new tax law gets more holes poked in it that nice slice of Swiss cheese.

Still, it’s a valiant effort by the Government to try to do something about this whole tax avoidance business. For what it’s worth, I’m tired of watching these multinationals cry poverty when they’re busy shoveling their profits down the gullet of an offshore account or into a foreign arm of the same company. I mean how stupid do these people think we are anyway?

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Best of luck getting any corporation tax out of Starbucks


The new chief executive of Starbucks says there’s no way the company will pay even a penny of UK corporation tax over the next three years or so.

In a move that will surely ignite the ire of contractors and freelancers everywhere that have been having to make up for corporation tax shortfalls through their own self-assessment tax payments, Mark Fox says that UK corporation tax simply won’t be applicable to the multinational until it starts turning a profit. Apparently – and this is news to me – the purveyor of overpriced coffee isn’t making any money from its British shops. How this is possible is anyone’s guess, but Fox says he’s got the answers apparently.

The chief executive did say that Starbucks had been rocked by bad publicity after it was revealed two years ago that the multinational had been engaging in tax avoidance. Starbucks was paying an annual six per cent payment to its Amsterdam offices, something it called a ‘royalty’ payment, in order to keep revenues down; it also ships coffee beans from one division of the company to the other through a ‘sale’ process that incorporates a hefty mark-up. In other words, Starbucks UK has to pay for its own coffee beans it purchases from its own company – and that it gets overcharged for these beans, again from its own company. If that’s not completely barmy I don’t know what is.

Meanwhile, do you know how much corporation tax Starbucks has actually paid since 1998 when it first started up in the UK? £8.6 million. That’s it. £8.6 million is practically nothing.

Meanwhile, Fox dismissed the idea that Starbucks paying royalties to itself and buying beans from itself isn’t the height of absolute lunacy. That’s because it’s not – it’s a specific strategy designed to eat up ‘profits’ to a point where there’s no profit to subject to tax. Meanwhile, the core firm is still raking in all that cash – untaxed cash, mind you – whilst giving the UK tax authority the old two-finger salute.

Apparently this is just how multinationals do things, thanks to legal loopholes that allow it to happen. It absolutely drives me around the bed to think of it but there’s literally nothing I can do about it, short of simply not buying overpriced drinks from that blasted company.

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European Commission investigates Amazon for tax avoidance


Well it’s about time: the European Commission has decided to put the screws to Amazon over its alleged involvement in a large scale tax avoidance scheme.

It’s finally happened, and I for one welcome the European Union’s executive branch finally getting off its arse and doing something about it: alleged tax avoidance on the part of multinational companies like Amazon is getting investigated, and not a moment too soon. The online retailer has been ducking its tax responsibilities for much too long if you ask me, and it’s been doing so by entering into an arcane agreement with Luxembourg that the Commission says is tantamount to using the city-state as a tax shelter.

For its part Amazon is of course claiming no wrongdoing whatsoever, claiming that Luxembourg hasn’t furnished it any special tax treatment. Meanwhile Joaquin Almunia, EU competition commissioner, says that while the lion’s share of the profits Amazon makes in the eurozone might be recorded in Luxembourg they certainly aren’t being taxed there – instead Amazon has been paying royalties to an additional business entity within the city, ostensibly in a bid to lower the online retailer’s taxable profits.

Now maybe I’m just a cynical bastard but I don’t believe for a minute that there’s not something going on behind the scenes between Amazon and Luxembourg. Sure, everyone might say that there were no special deals struck between the two, but you can’t possibly believe that can you? I mean Amazon would likely do anything to maximise its profit margins, and if striking up a mutually-beneficial agreement with a sovereign state would accomplish these goals do you really think the highly-paid accountants Amazon has on staff wouldn’t jump at the chance to engage in some “legal” corporation tax avoidance?

At any rate, I’m just chuffed to bits that the EU has Amazon in its crosshairs. Large multinationals need to be cut down to size a bit when it comes to this whole tax avoidance business, and since Westminster doesn’t seem to have the bollocks to do it I’ll be happy to let the EU take a crack at this tough nut. If Amazon falls to the might of the European Commission, I hope that other multinationals like Starbucks and Apple are next!

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Independent Scotland to cut corporation tax?


So here’s one that will rattle the cages of all those “Better Together” supporters: an independent Scotland could become a major tax haven for multinationals.

Ne proposals put forward by John Swinney, Scotland’s Finance Secretary, include slashing corporation tax in the North if this month’s referendum goes towards independence. This has of course created a massive row between Mr Swinney and MSP Labour leader Iain Gray, who is decidedly against breaking off from the UK. The two faced off at a debate recently, and the sparks absolutely flew.

Mr Gray was adamant that slashing corporation tax would do nothing that would actually help the country, as multinationals might use an independent Scotland as a tax haven but not much else. Meanwhile Mr Swinney insisted that reducing taxes would bring Scotland into line with the more competitive countries out there and also foster economic growth – and that there was also a GAAR in place with the new Tax Powers Bill anyway, so quit whinging. Well not his exact words, but you know that’s what he was thinking.

So will Scotland become the next Luxembourg or Jersey if it goes independent? Will British contractors have to suddenly worry if their accounts are held in Scottish banks that they’ll be targeted under some new iteration of IR35? Right now of course there’s no way of actually knowing this for certain, as it’s not exactly something you can predict. On the one hand, this could be used as an argument against independence by claiming that the unknown is just too risky and that it’s better to err on the side of caution; on the other, the possibility of Scotland becoming a tax haven could just be the “Better Together” crowd grasping at whatever straws they can find in order to manipulate voters on an emotional level.

Honestly if you must know I don’t think it’s going to be a problem either way. I’ll tell you why: in the event that the referendum fails in creating an independent Scotland, there’s obviously nothing to worry about besides some rather salty Scotsmen – and let’s be honest here, no one’s going to notice that as out of the ordinary. Meanwhile if the referendum passes, with the Tax Powers Bill in place I’m betting it will suitably limit tax avoidance. So why worry?

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Vodafone tax avoidance row intensifies, things get nasty


Things are definitely hotting up between Vodafone and its detractors as an anti-austerity group co-opts a Twitter hashtag to harass the telecoms giant.

No one likes to think that large multinationals are getting away with murder when it comes to avoiding their corporation tax. Tax avoidance is a massive hot-button issue right now, especially since so many small-scale freelancers and contractors feel harried by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for IR35 compliance and other issues, yet HMRC has remained stodgily silent when it comes to whether or not there’s actually a £6 billion shortfall in Vodafone’s 2010 tax bill; in addition, people get even more cross when they find out that the telcoms giant didn’t pay a single penny in 2011 either.

UK Uncut has been on Vodafone’s case for months now, staging protests inside and outside mobile phone shops across the UK. Now, the anti-austerity group has taken it one step further by co-opting the #VodafoneAGM hashtag – originally for promoting the Annual General Meeting for the telecoms company – and filling it with accusatory language about how Vodafone has been avoiding paying their fair share.

For its part, Vodafone has fired back remarking how everyone’s just being stupid and that the reason it’s not been paying any tax lately is because it’s been sinking massive amounts of revenue into infrastructure improvements for its British networks. The Government exempts Vodafone from paying corporation tax on these funds since it’s benefiting the entire country, the telecoms giant claims, so it’s a win-win for everyone as the mobile carrier can increase availability and speed on its voice and data lines throughout the UK.

So who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong here? Are anti-austerity activists overreacting at this point or is Vodafone simply using a legal loophole to avoid paying tax on its investments? If you ask me, I couldn’t care less as to who’s in the right. I will say that the current row, as it gets more heated, is absolutely entertaining. However, I will say this: if Vodafone is actually not doing anything wrong either legally or ethically and it’s still garnering all this hate, it’s just proof positive that people are unrelentingly stupid when they get together in large groups.

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