A tale of two taxes.
Top investor turns on Google over tax ‘sham’ – Times 28 January 2016
Google tax scam
Google tax scam
Last week we had the unpleasant spectacle of a smug George Osborne at Davos bragging of the amazing tax deal he had negotiated with Google.
Since Davos, a tax deal that has rapidly unravelled.
A tax deal so amazing, it was jaw dropping. Following a six year investigation of Google by the tax authority HMRC (cost of investigation, details of investigation, unknown), Google was to ‘voluntarily’ pay £130 million in tax, for a period covering ten years. This works out at a jaw dropping tax rate of somewhere around 2 to 3 percent.
A good deal for Google, a very poor deal for long suffering taxpayers, who would be only too happy to negotiate with HMRC a tax rate of 2.5%.
The current rate of corporation tax is 20%. Osborne wishes to lower to 18%.
The lax tax regime means corporations have amassed a massive £750 billion cash pile, dividends are at a record high. There is very little investment, as the corporations are risk averse, and see no future prospects.
Earlier in the week, Osborne was called by John McDonnell to appear before the House of Commons to explain himself. He lacked the courtesy to turn up, instead sending a clueless junior minster.
On Wednesday, Jeremy Corbyn wiped the floor with David Cameron, who unable to explain the tax deal, shouted infantile insults. Of what relevance the tax under the last Labour government? We know Alistair Darling was as useless as George Osborne.
The list of those challenging this tax deal grows by the day.
Rupert Murdoch, himself a serial tax dodger, has attacked the deal.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has attacked the deal.
James Anderson, major investor in Google, has attacked the deal.
A German Green MEP has attacked the deal.
The European Commission has said that if they receive a complaint they will launch an investigation.
In Italy, in France, Google pay a higher rate of tax.
On buying goods and service, people pay 17.5% VAT.
People pay higher personal income tax.
The HMRC investigation into Google should be published.
The tax returns of Google should be published, as should of any company with a turnover in excess of a million pounds.
The tax returns of Members of the House of Commons (and of the Lords) should be published.
In parallel with the Google tax scam unravelling, two people won their Appeal at the Court of Appeal against paying Bedroom Tax on Human Rights grounds. One a lady who has a secure room to which she can retreat if in danger of being attacked, the other a disabled man who looks after his severely disabled grandson. What can only be described as evil, the government is to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. What can only be described as bizarre, their statement that the Appeal Court contradicted the ruling of the High Court. Not true, as a superior court, the Appeal Court overruled the Supreme Court.
People, who could do without the stress, are to be put through more stress by the Evil Doers.
The number of people this ruling will effect, is small. It will probably cost more in legal fees.
The government points out the disabled man receives a discretionary payment, thus does not have to pay the Bedroom Tax. This entirely misses the point. He should not be forced to claim, and if discretionary, could be terminated at any time.
It was not ordinary people who caused the banking crash in 2008, that took down the economy. It was the criminal activity of bankers and lax banking regulation. And yet, not a single banker is in prison. The banks were bailed out, the bankers draw their obscene bonuses.
Austerity is a political choice, it is an excuse for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, cuts to libraries, benefits, an excuse to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich.
The Bedroom Tax is a tax on the poor.
If we need a Bedroom Tax, then levy on those with more than five bedrooms and a household income in excess of £100,000.
It is not the just the tax dodging and avoidance. We have, as Mariana Mazzucato highlighted on Channel 4 News last night, companies like Google holding meetings with ministers to determine tax policy.
Senior Tories met Google chiefs twenty-five times in run-up to their shameful tax deal.
Please sign the petition calling upon the European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager to investigate the Google tax scam.