Boots don't have to justify how little tax they pay
Stefano Pessina, the executive chairman of Alliance Boots, who are the parent company of the high street chain, batted away criticism that they'd only paid £2m in corporation tax. Their net consolidated profit was up 31% to £971m and underlying profits were up 18.5% to £840m for the year to April.
In short, they paid a £2m global corporation tax charge, down from £96m.
Pessina said: "We do not have to justify ourselves because we could not pay more tax. We respect the law in every single country," adding that they'd paid £90m of corporation tax in the UK and £141m in corporation tax in total. The company's finance director, George Fairweather stated that somewhere in the region of £550m was paid in taxes overall in the UK.
So what's going on?
Well, if you ask the poverty charity War on Want, they're not at all happy. They reckon that £90m tax on UK profits of £900m is, basically, a tax rate of just 10%. Owen Espley at the charity told the Indy: "The public expect a company like Alliance Boots, which makes profits from the taxpayer-funded health service, to be paying their fair share of tax. The Government has the powers to stop this kind of abuse, and yet is failing to act."
Alliance Boots are based in Switzerland, for the record, where no dodgy tax practises go on AT ALL.
Are we going to see people booing outside Boots pharmacies like we did with Starbucks, or do tax-protesters only pick on coffee houses because it's fashionable to hate them?