Guardian leader today:
The most worrying thing about tax avoidance is the corporate thinking it illustrates. Listen to Tesco’s defence of its hunt for tax havens: it is already paying a lot in taxes, and avoiding giving any more is "our duty to shareholders and customers alike". That philosophy is becoming ever more widespread. Tax avoidance was once the sport of giant multinationals; but in the past couple of years, points out Stephen Herring of BDO Stoy Hayward, a whole tranche of mid-sized companies have got in on the act. Servicing them is the fastest-growing practice at his accountancy firm. Moving call centres offshore or selling more goods over the internet are modern business practices that not only reduce overheads but can also often reduce a company’s taxes. Avoidance or efficiency or planning – whatever euphemism you use, paying the bare minimum in taxes is becoming part of Britain’s business culture. That leaves more of the nation’s tax bill to be footed by the rest of us. In the past decade, while corporation tax has been squeezed, income tax and national insurance has grown as a proportion of the country’s tax take from 42.9% to 47.6%.
The most worrying thing is that The Guardian seemsnot to know the most basic thing about corporation tax. Sure, companies hand over the money but the actual burden isn’t carried by them. It’s carried by some combination of workers in the form of lower wages, investors in lower returns and customers in higher prices. That is, we already pay it. And according to the studies into tax incidence, it’s the workers who get screwed the most.
These people really do have to stop listening to Richard Murphy.