Google, Starbucks & Amazon to face the law over tax while water companies don't pay either
After the kerfuffle about Starbucks, Google and Amazon avoiding their tax bills, it seems our sloth-like lawmakers are finally sensing unrest and are going to ask some questions.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), who monitor government financial affairs, has invited these companies to give evidence about why they can make so much money in Britain, but pay so little tax on it.
"It is hard for the ordinary person to believe it's fair," said Margaret Hodge, a member of parliament for the opposition Labour party and chairman of PAC. "It makes people incredibly angry in the current fiscal climate."
Elsewhere, campaign group UK Uncut, has organised protests against Vodafone and Boots over similar tax dodges. And it seems everyone's at it (surprise, surprise) with news that three of the biggest water companies in Britain aren't paying enough tax either.
Thames Water and Anglian Water have paid no corporation tax on their profits, according to reports. Thames Water has a turnover of £1,694.9m and an operating profit of £643.9m, but still managed to pay zero in the way of corporation tax in 2012. Anglian Water also paid nothing, despite a turnover of £1,138m and operating profit of £492.1m.
HMRC reckon the 'tax gap' (ie the difference between the amount of tax it thinks should be getting collected and the amount that actually ends up with the Exchequer) is around £32.2billion. Of course, this money is going walkies thanks to complex accountancy loopholes, rather than anything illegal.
What are the chances of a government actually doing anything useful about this? Roughly the same percentage that Thames Water have paid in corporation tax.