Now eBay and Ikea are shown to be taking advantage of lax tax laws...

22 October 2012

uk-money.jpg Last week it was Starbucks, today it’s eBay and Ikea that are wriggling under the ‘fair tax spotlight’ – a spotlight that we’ve just made up, although it seems like it might be a pretty harsh spotlight, and not the kind that someone might sing a ballad beneath. Of course, we’ve already had Starbucks quivering under the spotlight, as it has paid no UK tax in the past three years in spite of the fact that it’s chalked up £1.2 billion in sales in that period. Hmmm…

Now it’s emerged that eBay channels payments through Luxembourg and Switzerland and manages to avoid paying as much as £50 million in tax while it does so. Ikea avoids some UK tax by sending payments abroad to a sister payment, which it calls a ‘franchise fee’. Hmmm…

In a Sunday Times report, it was revealed that eBay had paid little more than £1m in corporation tax even though it had racked up sales of around £800m a year. As for Starbucks, on Saturday, the taxpayer was footing the bill for the police to protect London branches of Starbucks which had been threatened by marchers on the demonstration against government cuts. Now there’s ironic.

Additionally, it looks as though Amazon is only paying 3% VAT to Luxembourg on ebooks while insisting that publishers knock the UK VAT rate of 20% off cost price, ramping up its profits even more. Classy – and of course Amazon have got form when it comes to dodging its UK tax responsibilities.

So, what about you lot? Do you give a toss about what companies get up to with their accounts as long as they’re illegal? Why should a company pay more to the HMRC if they don’t have to? Social responsibility – what’s all that about? Or are you in favour of boycotting these scoundrels unless they get their act together and stop acting like slippery eels?

TOPICS:   Tax   High Street News   Economy

16 comments

  • holly100
    ikea not a british company anyway - Swedish? and ebay - welllllllllllllllll its made us a few bob - ok they have taken a few bob - so what - not as if they got lottery funding like bradley wiggins chris hoy? now their money should be coming into our coffers as they are not the last of bristish cyclists - or are they - students are made to pay back student loans - athletes should be made to pay back funding too!!
  • Chester
    I won't care until they stop giving benefits to the lazy lower class.
  • Alexis
    I don't blame them, I blame the government that lets it go ahead whilst preaching to the rest of us. Remember that bollocks about not paying the plumber in cash? The loopholes are easily closed. The problem is that the tax squirmers line the Tories' coffers.
  • Kevin
    They are not UK companies. Simple as that. I'd guess that anyone buying something from Amazon would have noticed the name on their statements and letters, Amazon EU SARL for example. They pay all the tax they have to. They always will. Not up to them to offer more, why would they? They are businesses not community centres. Don't like it? Then you'd have to change EU law I guess. Good luck with that! It is totally legal, totally legitimate. Of course noone seems to mind them offering jobs, paying wages, paying NI and other taxes which they also do as a matter of course though do they. I'm sure the 10,000 seasonal workers they are hiring would prefer to get paid rather than not have a temporary job.
  • Jemma
    We need to get tougher on this , why should these huge businesses get away with it when everyday independent retailers are going bust, we will soon have no high streets as they cannot compete with these big retailers are they can lower prices due to low rates. If you spend money in an independent retailer they then have the money to spend in other local stores and it benefits the community, if you spend money on amazon or in these big chains it goes to line the pockets of multi millionaires. Us normal tax payers pay tax which then goes to support these communities and pay benefits to those people out of work due to this. Yes they employ large numbers of people but normally on minimum wage, if they weren't trading in this country we wouldn't be poorer because of it, if Starbucks closed smaller independent coffee houses would take the customers and employ there staff. People won't just suddenly stop spending the money or stop drinking coffee. Mr Cameron needs to nip this in the bud pronto.
  • Dylann A.
    As long as they are providing a good service, I won't boycott them. In our country, I pretty much would rather give my money to charities than pay taxes, because the government will corrupt it anyway. I'd rather make sure it gets to the right people even if it's illegal.
  • Colin
    Not uk companies, why should they pay tax here? HUKD, pretends to be a uk company, how much tax do they pay?
  • Unknown
    The arguement saying they're not UK companies does not standup. Oil companies that drill in the North Sea are not all UK companies... should they be except from Tax. McDonalds is not a UK company but they'll have 100s of fast food places... should they not pay tax? If they trade in the UK, they should pay tax on anything they earn here. I dont blame the companies, I blame the government too. Close the loop-holes... ofcourse companies are going to take the route that saves them the most money!
  • The M.
    At this rate there'll be no money left in the country for people to spend at all these outlets. Don't they realise that for every £50m they steal, I mean avoid paying tax on, that's £50m less that can be spent on more second-hand tat and shoddy chipboard wardrobes that fall apart if you lean on them? Has anyone added up all this tax money that's gone walkies? I bet it'd be quite a bit now.
  • Alexis
    "They pay all the tax they have to. They always will. Not up to them to offer more, why would they? They are businesses not community centres. Don’t like it? Then you’d have to change EU law I guess. Good luck with that!" I don't think anyone's disagreeing. But if EU law allows rich companies to base themselves in territories that are the equivalent of a rock in the middle of the ocean, there's something wrong. Not least for their competitors who can't afford to dodge taxes, have to pass them onto their customers and get shafted from all sides.
  • LD
    It's about time Bitter Wallet organised boycotts ...
  • PlatinumPlatypus
    The Corporation Tax regime distorts the market against UK-based firms in favour of the multinationals who can apparently pay what they want. This wouldn't seem to be what we want to encourage.
  • Dick
    If they paid more tax, then prices charged to us would go up, and the tax would be spent on benefits. Probably benefits for immigrants too.
  • PlatinumPlatypus
    Prices would be dictated by competition, and competition would be greater since UK-based firms would be on a level playing field. As for benefits, let's hope you never suffer an awful disabling accident in your benefits-free nation.
  • Mark H.
    Selfishness. Greed. Arrogance. Zero social conscience. Welcome to capitalism 21st century style. It doesn't have to be like this.
  • mattress r.
    How do you do? our family loves your amazing editorial and pls keep the ball rolling

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