The fiction that these companies play by the rules has been exposed in one afternoon as a fairy tale.
Absolutely no one at all is suggesting that any of these companies have done anything illegal.
Thus they are, by definition, playing by the rules. Agreed, they’re not the rules as Richard J Murphy thinks they ought to be but that’s a very different matter. They’re also not the rules as I would like them to be either. But at least I’ve not got the astonishing ignorance to claim that the rules as I’d like them to be are the rules we in fact have.
Despite it being almost four years now since I started work on exposing Google’s tax affairs, all three companies seemed utterly unprepared to answer simple questions about why they are avoiding corporation tax due in the UK.
But as above. No more corporation tax is due in the UK than is currently being paid. Thus there cannot be any tax avoidance. How can you avoid something that is not due?
For Amazon things were much worse. Their rep could not justify how an order made in the UK for a product in a UK warehouse, shipped by UK staff through the UK post and with a bill enclosed printed in this country could somehow have anything to do with Luxembourg when so very obviously it hasn’t.
Because European Union law says that it is just and righteous that matters work this way. Freedom of establishment and the Single European Market. It’s really not that difficult to understand. Our Lords and Masters in Brussels have deliberately and specifically set up the system to work this way.
But that was not the worst moment for them: credibility was lost when Amazon admitted they would not disclose on a country by country basis where their profits arise.
Because European Union law is deliberately and specifically set up this way. That freedom of establishment and Single European Market stuff again. A company is supposed to treat the EU as one market: the clue’s in hte name of the damn fucking project.
So what did we learn? Maybe five things. First, if this committee could tear these companies to shreds so easily why HMRC are letting them get away with these fables is hard to imagine.
Because that’s what the law is you ignorant buffoon!
There is an international conspiracy amongst some governments (including, maybe, ours) to align the interests of states with the interests of corporations to make sure that tax is not paid by companies. That means it is paid by ordinary people instead.
And all tax is paid by ordinary people. Any and every tax means less money in the pocket of some live human being. The study of whose is called “tax incidence”. A concept which, if you’re going to play around with the design of tax systems, you really, really need to grasp. Fool.