Tax the rich!

Submitted by martin on 13 November, 2012 - 3:00

The Guardian (13 November) sums up the evidence given by Starbucks, Amazon, and Google on why they pay almost no tax in Britain.

"The man from Starbucks... said Starbucks paid almost no tax in the UK because... with one exception, they had made a loss for 15 years. Year after year, the business failed. Yet somehow it survived, and the UK boss was even promoted!...

"The man from Amazon... denied that was, in any sense, a UK firm. But he didn't know what kind of firm it was, because he didn't know who owned it...

"Matt Brittin of Google... at least admitted that the company shipped profits to Bermuda to avoid tax. [This is what the other multinationals do: they manipulate prices for international transactions within the corporation so that the profits emerge in the lowest-tax jurisdictions].

"He didn't dissemble: the gist was: 'we do it because we can'."

Researcher Sol Picciotto has proposed an answer: "Unitary Taxation", which "treats a transnational corporation engaged in a unified business as a single entity, requiring it to submit a single set of worldwide combined or consolidated accounts in each country where it has a business presence, and apportioning the overall profit according to a weighted formula reflecting the proportion of its actual presence in each country".

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