By Mark Horler, Simpol-UK
According to an article in the Independent today, David Cameron has ‘ruled out naming and shaming corporations that fail to pay their fair share of tax’. This has, of course, provoked a great deal of sound and fury from a variety of sources.
But the situation is perhaps best summed up by this, right from the start of the article:
Margaret Hodge, chairman of the powerful cross-party Public Accounts Committee said tax officials needed to be more aggressive in tackling legal avoidance by firms such as Amazon, Google and Starbucks who pay next to no tax in the UK.
Legal, that’s the keyword there. How are tax officials to aggressively pursue organisations that are acting legally? It’s a nonsense.
The truth is, we need better tax laws. But making those tax laws alone would make the UK ‘uncompetitive’ in the global marketplace. It would make the UK ‘unattractive’ to companies looking at where to invest.
So what are we to do? The answer, of course, is for laws to be created on taxation that can be implemented simultaneously. Only in this way can there be any chance of actually making progress on this issue.