Sunday, 21 December 2014

Observer letter on co-operation with EU over tax avoidance

Will Hutton writes that "arguably the state is paying part of what should be workers wages".(Yes,we can reshape the state- if corporations pay more tax,14/12/14) There is no argument! Taxpayers are now paying an extra £900m in tax credits to ensure the  low-paid survive. How ridiculous is it that this happens so that companies can maximise their profits, pay executives huge bonuses, and collect "yet more cash for dividend distributions" to shareholder, especially when those same companies do their utmost to avoid paying their fair share of taxation. Adding to the absurdity, companies in the UK get rewarded for their greed by this government, with corporation tax being reduced  to 21%, a full eighteen points below the rate in America. 
     Hutton is optimistic about the effects of the recent "Google tax", despite it being targetted to collect only £355m a year by 2019, barely denting the current "tax gap" of at least £35bn, but he omitted to mention Osborne`s announcement regarding Northern Ireland. Despite the finance ministers of Germany, France and Italy stating that "the lack of tax harmonisation is one of the main causes allowing aggressive tax planning", yet again we see, in John Cridland`s words, another example of Britain "going it alone" by apparently allowing Northern Ireland`s corporation tax to match that of the Republic at 12.5%.
    Does not the "variety of tax regimes" in the "international system" play into the greedy hands of tax avoiding companies and their advisers in the "Big 4" accounting firms? Is it not time for action against tax avoiders to be taken in concert with our EU colleagues,rather than in opposition to them? Sensible and similar rates of corporation tax would be a start!

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