Posts Tagged ‘tax dodging’

Google ‘voluntarily’ pay £130 million ‘tax’

January 24, 2016

For small businesses and ordinary people, tax is compulsory, for tax dodging corporations like Vodafone, Starbucks, Facebook and Google, it is voluntary.

Google tax dodging

Google tax dodging

It’s unbelievable that big companies like Google ‘negotiate’ the amount of tax they pay. They should be told how much to pay, and made to pay up. Like everyone else. — UK Uncut

A smug George Osborne at Davos said Goggle only paying £130 million tax showed the success of his tax policies.

If an individual or a small business fail to pay tax, they will be prosecuted, forced to pay the tax owed. A small businesses may be forced into bankruptcy by the tax authorises to recover unpaid tax, may face a prison sentence.

One rule for ordinary people, small businesses another rule for the wealthy and global corporations.

From the viewpoint of George Osborne, it is a major success of his tax policy, aiding and abetting the rich and greedy corporations to dodge tax.

HMRC staff who aided and abetted, should be prosecuted for misconduct in public office, a criminal offence that attracts a prison sentence.

A six year investigation into the tax affairs of Google. How much did it cost, has it been published?

And the result, Google ‘voluntarily’ pay £130 million ‘tax’ for ten years of tax dodging.

For small businesses and ordinary people, tax is compulsory, for tax dodging corporations like Vodafone, Starbucks, Facebook and Google, it is voluntary.

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Something rotten with football

April 18, 2015
Premier Pigs

Premier Pigs

Blackpool fans outside a game

Blackpool fans outside a game

I have never been a fan of football, though as kids we created or own football pitch in the field at the bottom of the garden.

Yes, I can understand people supporting their local football club (though not for me), what I cannot understand, is like mugs being ripped off on ticket prices, buy football kit from overseas sweatshops, or cheering on what are little more than Big Businesses.

Would people be cheering on Coca-Cola or Pepsi of KFC or McDonald’s? As that is effectively what they are doing.

People who turn up to a game, do not do for love of the game, they engage in tribal support for one side or the other.

We have obscene salaries paid to the players. Obscene amounts of money are poured in by the media. Very little of this money trickles down to grass roots level. Where is the money in Hackney Marshes?

Grounds if nothing else for a windfall tax on football.

Not content with their obscene salaries, endorsement of products from sweatshops for yet more money.

Not content with their obscene salaries, widespread tax-dodging.

Foreign ownership of football clubs located in tax havens.

The referee is judge and jury. In a split second, in a highly fuelled atmosphere, has to decide:

  • did he do it
  • was it with intent
  • what is the penalty

TV may beg to differ, those watching who are all self-appointed experts may beg to differ, the manager will always beg to differ.

I can take a picture from one angle and tell one story, I can take a picture from a different angle and tell an entirely different story.

TV is showing one version of what is claimed to be the truth. Do they show it from the viewpoint of the referee?

A top referee, earns less in a year than a mediocre player in a week.

Referees are abused, subject to violent attacks, receive death threats.

Four thousand referees a year are leaving football.

Any player, manager, or fan, who abuses a referee should be banned for a year.

Any player, manager, or fan, who physically attacks a referee should receive a lifetime ban.

Widespread corruption, match-fixing, rigged World Cup locations.

It is time football walked away from Fifa.

At the top, obscene amount of money floating around, nice if you get it, the agents, the managers, the players. Those who do the graft, do not even get paid a living wage.  Some clubs even force their staff to pay for their uniforms.

Frank Knight is a lifelong football supporter, sued by his club owners for defamation of character for questioning the way Blackpool FC is run, ordered to pay £20,00 or be bled to death through the courts.

Frank Knight is not the only fan to be threatened and intimidated.

What happened to free speech?

Former Blackpool FC fans turn up outside the grounds with their protest banners, then go off to support another club.

Fans who walked away from Manchester United, showed another world is possible. Working from scratch, they built their own football club, a genuine local club, not a foreign-owned business operating out of a tax haven.

Maybe one day, fans will realise they are being treated as mugs and taken for a ride, and will follow the example of Blackpool FC and Manchester United, and walk away.

Blackpool FC now plays to empty stands.

There is now a move in football, to cross the tribal boundaries, even to go as far as mass boycotts.

Pause and think, televised matches with empty stands.

It is time for fans to unite and reclaim football.

The UK Gold

February 25, 2015

Now is the time to reveal the revolving doors between government and the City that has bred lies and corruption for so long, siphoning money through our tax havens for the global super rich, while now preaching that we the people must pay our taxes and suffer austerity. Just who does our government work for? — Thom Yorke

Where is the gold buried when crisis is looming and society begins to demand its share?

With eloquence and polite mutual support, the British business establishment elegantly winds its way out of society’s demands of accountability and community, and vast amounts of money are diverted away from the state coffers through a net of confusing transactions, Caribbean tax havens and a shelter of bureaucracy. All wrapped up in the “Union Jack”.

We are guided through the darkness by the film’s hero, Father William Taylor, who with his indomitable social spirit and chivalrous character seems to be the moral anchor of a world whose laws fluctuate with the economic cycles.

Taylor joins a battle where the good argument is of little value in a world of closed doors and mutually protective silence – where democracy is no more than an illusion and the cards have been dealt in advance.

The UK Gold takes a powerful swipe against the British Empire behind the white gloves, and tells the story of a contemporary crisis and an ancient practice, which shows how deep deception is ingrained in our proudest institutions and traditions. Dominic West (“The Wire”) narrates; Thom Yorke (Radiohead), 3D (Massive Attack) and Guy Garvey (Elbow) provide a spellbinding score.

Offereing live streaming of an album is nothing special. This is the norm on bandcamp. We need to be able to download and listen off-line. Please upload to bandcamp, where for a donation, it would be possible to download.

The UK Gold is essential viewing. An in-depth investigation of the tax avoidance industry in the UK, The UK Gold tackles tax dodging corporations and government complicity so directly that both BBC and Channel 4 refused to run it. It is, they claimed, ‘too controversial’.

The film is premiered tonight live on London Live, or Freeview 8 / Sky 117 / Virgin 159 / YouView 8.

Russell Brand: The Sun smear campaign

December 8, 2014
Sun garbage

Sun garbage

Once again, The Sun shows it occupies the gutter.

Last week, Russell Brand and a group of tenants from New Era Estates, presented a petition to No 10 Downing Street. Their concern, they face massive rent increase and eviction following acquisition by US vulture capitalists Westbrook aka Westcrook.

Russell Brand was interviewed outside 10 Downing Street by a reporter from Channel 4 News, but instead of focusing on the issues, families being socially cleansed from London by rapacious American corporations, the reporter persisted in asking question about where Russell Brand lived, how much did his house cost.

The following day The Sun ran a smear campaign on its front page, calling Russell Brand a hypocrite because he rents his apartment from a tax dodger.

A few days later, the smear campaign continued on the front page of The Sun.

As Noam Chomsky discusses in Manufacturing Consent, only a narrow discourse is permitted in the mainstream media. Straying outside of that discourse, as Russell Brand has learnt, is not tolerated.

On the BBC, we get the same tired old has-been politicians who do not know what they are talking about, the trivia of Westminster, so-called experts are wheeled out.

A journalist very quickly learns to toe the line, if not, they are out on their ear, as recently happened with Nafeez Ahmed, when The Guardian in a disgraceful act decided to part with his company.

We are moving into a world of energy, economic and environmental crisis, of brutal crackdown and criminalisation of political dissent, of smearing those who speak out, of rapacious global corporations, of conflict between civil society and global corporations resembling war zones, of corrupt politicians on the take, for sale to the highest bidder, Islamists and terrorists used as excuse for Draconian state powers, of the State being there to protect the rich and powerful.

The State, is developing tools to monitor the Internet, to sniff out signs of dissent, social deviancy. Sound familiar? It should do, read Nineteen Eighty-four. We even have the language of Nineteen Eighty-four.

The pre-conditions for Revolution in the West already exist. All it needs is one spark, one incident, our Tunisian fruit-seller moment.

Murdoch wants to give you his view of the world. But things are changing, we have social media, we have people living on New Era Estate who are willing to stand up and be counted, who are inspiring others to stand up and be counted. It is not a world Murdoch wishes you to know about.

David Cameron to raise tax dodging at G8

January 6, 2013

The world’s most powerful leaders must mount a concerted effort to prevent multinational companies such as Starbucks and Amazon legally avoid large corporation tax bills, David Cameron will urge in his role as president of the G8.

The Prime Minister vowed to make “damn sure” that multinational firms paid their fair share of tax on their UK operations.

He is to use Britain’s presidency of the G8 group of the most industrialised nations, which began this week, to discuss ways of stopping global companies moving their money through different jurisdictions to minimise tax payments.

HM Revenue & Customs has been accused of being “too lenient” towards big businesses that indulge in aggressive tax planning. The credibility of HMRC and the tax system rests on it becoming “more aggressive and assertive in confronting corporate tax avoidance”, the chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, said last month.

Mr Cameron says a crackdown can only be effective if countries around the world act collectively to tackle abuses. Britain, along with Germany and France, has asked the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to investigate whether tax loopholes can be closed.

He signalled his determination to confront global corporations during an appearance in Lancashire before business leaders and entrepreneurs. Asked why “Starbucks and Amazon” were allowed to avoid paying large corporation tax bills despite their extensive British presence, he replied: “We have got to crack that, you’re absolutely right.

“This is a really important issue. I think we’re offering actually a fair deal to businesses. We’re saying, ‘Look, we’re going to have a really low rate of corporation tax’ but I want to make damn sure that those companies pay it.

“It’s simply not fair and not right what some of them are doing by saying, ‘I’ve got lots of sales here in the UK but I’m going to pay a sort of royalty fee to another company that I own in another country that has some special tax dispensation’.”

Mr Cameron said he wanted to start a debate in the UK about “really aggressive tax avoidance”.

He said: “We do need a debate in this country, not only what is against the law – that’s tax evasion, that is against the law, that’s illegal and if you do that the Inland Revenue will come down on you like a ton of bricks – but what is unacceptable in terms of really aggressive tax avoidance.

Mr Cameron added: “We’ve got a low top rate of income tax now; we’ve got a low rate of corporation tax now; we are a fair tax country. But I think it’s fair then to say to business, you know, we’re playing fair by you; you’ve got to play fair by us.

Mr Cameron said he had put the issue “right at the top of the agenda” for the G8 this year as well as tackling it nationally.

“It’s simply not fair and not right what some of them are doing by saying, I’ve got lots of sales here in the UK but I’m going to pay a sort of royalty fee to another company that I own in another country that has some special tax dispensation.”

The Commons Public Accounts Committee last month condemned the “unconvincing, and, in some cases, evasive” evidence it had received from representatives of Starbucks, Google and Amazon who were called in front of it to defend their tax affairs.

Tax avoidance: What can be done?

* International collaboration, to address changes to global business practices such as e-commerce, where national tax authorities have failed to respond quickly enough.

* Treaties with overseas countries to ensure flow of tax from accounts held by British citizens. Such a treaty with Switzerland will, the Treasury claims, see £5bn enter its coffers over the next six years.

* Better “information sharing” with Britain’s Crown Dependencies to give HMRC more detailed knowledge of accounts in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

* The Treasury has set up an “affluence unit” to closely investigate the tax affairs of those with property or assets worth over £1m.

* Aggressive pursuit of corporate tax avoiders rather than HMRC striking voluntary “sweetheart deals” .

Original article published in The Independent.

Never let it be said a group of committed individuals never achieve anything. It is the only thing that ever has.

It was not politicians who raised tax dodging, it was UK Uncut.

It was only a couple of years ago a small group of people UK Uncut decided to occupy Vodafone. Since then Top Shop, Boots, Starbucks.

I trust David Cameron will acknowledge it is thanks to UK Uncut that he is raising tax dodging at G8.

The Treasury has to have the resources to pursue tax dodgers. Countries that facilitate tax dodging have to be isolated from international money flows. It has to be a criminal offence for a bank to facilitate tax dodging, for the directors to face long prison sentences, for the bank to lose its banking licence and be put out of business.

David Cameron has to pursue tax dodgers with the same aggression he hounds the vulnerable in society.

Tax the Rich: An animated fairy tale

December 10, 2012

This brilliant animation by California Federation of Teachers could not explain better the situation we are in. Where the rich buy up politicians and they bark on their behalf. Or at local level, developers buy up planning officials who push through their unwanted developments against strong public opposition.

Last week, British Chancellor of the Exchequer made his Autumn Statement, a mini-budget in all but name. He launched an unprecedented attack on the poor and disadvantaged. The poorest 20% are to bear the brunt of cuts, meanwhile corporation tax drops again that is for those who pay it, but many like Starbucks simply do not pay, and yet no measures to deal with tax dodgers, that is left to UK Uncut, who last Saturday occupied Starbucks across the country.

Austerity is being used as an excuse to lay waste to public services, to cut benefits to the poor and disadvantaged.

In the US Big Money is used to buy votes. Big Money waged a massive campaign against Proposition 30 in California, the ballot measure to raise taxes to protect public schools and social services. They failed. These measures could not get through the State Legislature because the politicians are bought and paid for by Big Money. Big Money tried and failed to buy the Presidential elections. It was a landslide for Obama when the electorate saw the real Mitt Romney.

tax the rich not the poor

tax the rich not the poor

During his Autumn Statement pompous ass George Osborne let the mask slip, he spoke of the unemployed being too lazy to get out of bed in the morning. We had divide and rule, the deserving poor and the undeserving poor being pitted against each other, but both lost out in benefits cuts.

Why are we subsidising those in work? If they were paid higher wages they would not need a subsidy. What in reality we are subsidising is not the working poor, but Big Business that employs the working poor and refuses to pay a fair wage.

The subsidy goes even further when unemployed are forced to work for companies like Shoe Zone, Argus and Primark, for nothing. Or charities like British Heart Foundation.

Decline the opportunity to work for nothing and benefits are stopped.

The rich have the politicians in their pockets

The rich have the politicians in their pockets

The rich have the politicians in their pockets. If they do not do their bidding, no more bags of gold.

disabled bastardised by ATOS

disabled bastardised by ATOS

When the disabled are bastardised by ATOS, found fit for work by someone unqualified to pronounce on the subject, they do not only lose their disability benefits, they lose their free bus pass too.

Starbucks occupied

December 8, 2012
Starbucks sucks

Starbucks sucks

Starbucks Occupied Islington

Starbucks Occupied Islington

£10 million quid was worth-a-punt, but we-all know it’s-a PR stunt. — chant from protesters

In Brazil to write about tax avoidance. We think we have a problem. Brazil tax authorities fewer recourses than HMRC. Guess the consequences. — Giles Fraser

And don’t forget WE pay their staff too through tax credits because they pay so badly. Our taxes pay their staff’s wages. — Matthew Butcher

Take note: a clever protest on right target, popular cause, can win.Congrats to UK Uncut Starbucks demos. Never despair, change can happen. – Polly Toynbee

Starbucks must be run by a bunch of fools. Did they really think they could get away with it, paying a token amount of tax? All they succeeded in doing was making people even more angry then they had been before.

Today, across the country, Starbucks was occupied.

Actions from Bristol, Brighton, Lincoln, Glasgow.

In central London a creche and women’s refuge were set up in Starbucks flagship stores, and in Birmingham people slept in sleeping bags on the floor to highlight homelessness. In Barnet, activists turned Starbucks into a library, while in York protesters handed out free tea and coffee in store.

Sit-in style protests saw Starbucks branches transformed into refuges, crèches and homeless shelters to highlight the disproportionate impact of the government’s spending cuts on women.

Sarah Greene, a UK Uncut activist:

It is an outrage that the government continues to choose to let multinationals like Starbucks dodge millions in tax while cutting vital services like refuges, creches and rape crisis centres. It does not have to be this way. The government could easily bring in billions by clamping down on tax avoidance that could fund vital services by clamping down on tax dodging.

Responding to Starbucks’ announcement that it will not claim tax deductions in the UK on a range of its tax arrangements and Starbucks statement regarding worker safety, Hannah Pearce, a UK Uncut supporter:

Offering to pay some tax if and when it suits you doesn’t stop you being a tax dodger. This is just a PR stunt straight out of the marketing budget in a desperate attempt by Starbucks to deflect public pressure – hollow promises on press releases don’t fund women’s refuges or child benefits.

I was in Farnham, and I am sorry to say, the apathetic folk of Farnham far from occupying were inside like mugs drinking coffee.