Starbucks has caved in to pressure from left wingers over their tax avoidance and have promised to “do more” on its tax in the UK.
This is very disappointing because every single one of us – from the plebs right up to multi-national corporations – have a moral duty to demonstrate the utter stupidity and incompetence that is the UK and EU taxation system in the hope that one day the Chancellor of the Exchequer will realise that the only way to fix it is to burn all three volumes (yes, it’s that big) of the tax rule book and start again.
In the case of Starbucks – as with the left’s other favourite whipping boy, Vodafone – it’s EU rules on double taxation that allow them to get away with avoiding paying little or no tax in the UK. The EU created the concept of a European company as one of the building blocks of its nationhood and has introduced several directives that allow holding companies or subsidiaries in low tax administrations to hoover up all the profits from other companies in their group to create a loss on paper and avoid paying tax. Starbucks in the Netherlands receives all the profits from Starbucks in the UK where they pay the Dutch government’s 20% corporation tax instead of the UK’s 30%. Vodafone operates a shell company in Luxembourg which receives the profits from (amongst others) Vodafone UK and pays Luxembourg’s 20% corporation tax. Amazon and eBay are owned by holding companies in Luxembourg for the same reason.
All of this is perfectly legal under EU rules and there is nothing the Treasury or HMRC can do about it other than blow smoke and feed propaganda to left wing tax campaigners and anti-capitalists. And the biggest irony of all is that the most vocal opponents of tax avoidance, the Guardian, operates a number of tax avoidance schemes itself – even the Guardian offices where millionaire socialist class warrior Polly Toynbee pontificates about the evils of capitalism for the half a year she doesn’t spend at her second home in Tuscany is owned by a tax avoidance company in the Cayman Islands.
If there was a Starbucks conveniently located in Telford I’d make a point of not going there as a personal protest at their caving in to hypocritical left wing bullies but we have about 400 Costa Coffee’s (who aren’t on the hit list) instead so I’ll just have to make do with moaning about it until someone uncovers who’s bankrolling UK Uncut.