Big Business Steals Billions From UK Taxpayers

February 2, 2009

British taxpayers are being left to plug a multibillion-pound hole in the public finances as hundreds of the country’s biggest companies increasingly employ complex and secretive tax arrangements to limit the amount they hand over to the exchequer. Here are just a few examples of tax avoidance and those who benefit from the scam…

• The UK-based drinks giant Diageo plc has transferred ownership of brands worth billions of pounds, including Johnnie Walker, J&B and Gilbey’s gin, to a subsidiary in the Netherlands where profits accrued virtually tax-free. Despite average profits of £2bn a year, it paid an average of £43m a year in UK tax – little more than 2% of its overall profits.

• Two major drug firms have shifted ownership of their brands to tax havens in the Caribbean. Their UK operations can then be made to pay royalties for the use of the trademarks, reducing their profits and the amount of tax due in this country.

• An internationally renowned corporation has structured itself so that it is now simultaneously a British public company, tax-resident in Amsterdam, but whose brands are Swiss-owned.

• The makers of an iconic British food product have shifted the rights in it to a tax haven in Switzerland.

• A household name has been deliberately loaded with debt so that it no longer has any profits to pay tax on.

• Top accountancy firms are charging £500,000 a time to invent tax-avoidance schemes.

• Some UK-listed companies which have moved control to Dublin to benefit from Ireland’s low-tax regime appear to have little real presence there.

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One Response to “Big Business Steals Billions From UK Taxpayers”

  1. All across the globe the political systems there are in favor of the riches to make them mpre grandiose, and at the same time they grind the poor.

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