I have to confess I am a tad "confused" over the bizarre announcement from Starbucks yesterday that they have decided to pay £10M per annum in Corporation Tax, irrespective of whether they are making profits.
1 On what basis have they derived this figure?
2 Either they owe corporation tax or they don't.
3 Since when was Corporation Tax (or for that matter any other tax) voluntary?
4 A cynic might suggest that this announcement suggests a certain fear within Starbucks about having their tax arrangements investigated. I trust and assume that this "voluntary" payment is not some form of cash appeasement designed to assuage HMRC/HMT?
5 Since when did HMRC accept "voluntary" donations?
6 How would HMRC account for this if they were (I don't think they will) to accept it?
HMRC is quite right when it said:
"Corporation tax is not a voluntary tax and Parliament sets out the rules and rates for businesses to follow. The public expects businesses to pay their fair share and HMRC will challenge, through the courts if necessary, any structures or tax payments that do not comply with the UK tax law."I have no qualms about companies or individuals seeking to reduce their tax liabilities (legally). However, wrt Starbucks and its bizarre announcement I would suggest that HMRC tells them to stuff it and to go in and conduct a root and branch audit of their tax affairs without delay (ie audit the hell out of them!).
I am aware that others are saying that Starbucks have somehow been "bullied" into this by the media/politicians. However, I don't buy that at all.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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