“Complying with the UK tax system is not an optional extra,” he says. “A multinational company can’t just decide whether or not to engage with the UK tax system. It’s an obligation. Companies need to pay the tax they are supposed to pay, full stop. End of story.”
A company has two entirely different ways in which it can choose to engage with the UK tax system or not.
The first, obviously, is whether to invest in the country at all. If they don’t then obviously they don’t engage with the tax system. Plus,. as we know, we don’t get the lovely things they produce. Nor the investment, the jobs, Which means that all wages are that fraction lower. It’s in this manner, the non-appearance of jobs and wages, that corporation tax lowers wages.
The second is by investing, selling here, and obeying the tax laws. For example, Amazon sells into the UK from Luxembourg. The double taxation treaty with that country, from 1968, says that even with all the warehouses etc in the UK, this does not lead to a corporation tax liability.
Similarly, if Google (I have no idea whether they do but if they did) Ireland charged Google UK a royalty then the EU says that it’s illegal (yes, actually bans the very idea of) for the UK to try to tax that royalty stream. Or Boots and interest on corporate debt: OK, that goes to Switzerland but in many ways that counts as EU. It’s illegal for us to tax that interest stream.
Companies can indeed decide whether to engage with the UK tax system or not. And even if they decide to they can decide how to so engage.
Just as an example, I’ve a little adventure starting. And I can assure you that it’s not going to be a UK corporation that houses that adventure. Not a fucking chance.