/ There was Starbucks and then there was eBay screwing us

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The Lemming - on 21 Oct 2012
We are all in this together, provided that we are not big business. Starbucks made the news with its TAX payments.

Pop quiz, if you made £800,000,000 what would your TAX bill be?
eBay got away with £1,200,000.

We could get out of this austerity bollocks if the Government grew some balls and went for big business rather than the unemployed who are living hand-to-mouth on a day-by-day existence.

http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/ebay-pays-1-2m-british-174322345.html

wushu - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to The Lemming:

It's things like this that further the cause of people not voting because nothing ever changes, no matter the party this has been happening for years.

I suggest we create a real hunger games and enter every single MP until there are none left. Then we start over with a new system.
andy - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to The Lemming: Whilst I agree with your sentiments, did you actually read the article or just the headline? £800m is turnover.
stp - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to The Lemming:

> We could get out of this austerity bollocks if the Government grew some balls and went for big business

Yep. Trouble is a lot of the time the Government is big business - either the same people or their mates and certainly their social class.

The Starbucks case is a complete joke. What do they want us to believe that if Starbucks paid tax here they'd just up and go? They'd still be making profits just a little less. And if they did go then a space would be opened up for someone else, maybe even a UK company.
Jaffacake - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to The Lemming:

I don't really understand how it all works but is there a reason why the tax you pay is based on where you are based rather than where you make your money?
muppetfilter - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to Jaffacake: Thats why companies like Boots are based in swizerland and saved £100million
stevieb - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to The Lemming:
Don't wait for the government to do it, you are the customer.
If you're angry at Starbucks' tax-dodging then go to British businesses such as Costa Coffee, Caffè Nero or independent coffee shops.
If you're angry at ebay, try gumtree. I've got a friend in NZ who says ebay has almost no foothold there, because there are free sites doing the same job.
Fultonius - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to andy: And, on that turnover the article says they "should have" paid £51m.

I hope your point isn't that £1.2m tax on £800m turnover is acceptable?
andy - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to Fultonius:
> (In reply to andy) And, on that turnover the article says they "should have" paid £51m.

Which is, of course, an assumption of the profit they've made rather than the actual profit.

>
> I hope your point isn't that £1.2m tax on £800m turnover is acceptable?

No, hence the "I agree with your sentiments" - you might have missed that bit, being in the first line of my post and all.

And I hope your point isn't that tax should be payable on turnover not profit? That would be silly, wouldn't it?
Mikkel - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to stp:
> (In reply to The Lemming)
>
> [...]
>
> They'd still be making profits just a little less.

Problem with that is that for most big companies a little less, is seen as a loss.
And its that mentality which is the problem.

elsewhere on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to andy:
If your widget sales turnover is £X then a fixed proportion of that £X paid by the consumers will be VAT according to whatever the widget VAT rate is in that country. That's primarily a tax on turnover and most countries have VAT so not that silly.
I know it's "value added" and it where the value is added can be manipulated but it is still essentially a tax closely realted to turnover that has to be paid even if the business makes a loss.
elsewhere on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to Jaffacake:
> I don't really understand how it all works but is there a reason why the tax you pay is based on where you are based rather than where you make your money?

I think I read that Starbucks US (or wherever the tax is lowest) charges Starbucks UK a lot for the brand and loans so that the UK profit is minimised and the profit in the low tax country is maximised.
The do pay tax on where they make the profit, but they make sure they make their profit in a low tax country.
dissonance - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to Jaffacake:

> I don't really understand how it all works but is there a reason why the tax you pay is based on where you are based rather than where you make your money?

it will be internal company payments designed to shift the majority of the money to places where there is a lower tax and, potentially, by daisy chaining payments across various countries to pretty much nothing.
I believe Starbucks go for various methods such as where they buy the coffee (UK subsidary buying from Switzerland) and various intellectual property rights payments to get it down.
lowersharpnose - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to muppetfilter:

Boots is slightly more complicated. IIRC, the high street chemist was bought by an outfit based in Zug, Switzerland. The money used to buy Boots was a debt mixture structured so that it would wipe out the profits from the high street operations. In particular, some very high interest loans were used. AIUI, the purpose of this high interest debt is to move the tax liability from the UK to a low/no tax jurisdiction.

There was a Panorama or ITV prog on this, the details were given by Richard Brooks, the ex-tax man, now Private Investigative journo.
andy - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to elsewhere: But VAT's paid by consumers, not the business - corporation tax is paid on profit - it's one of the most fundamental aspects of business taxation (and of course the reason why many businesses seek to offset stuff against profits).
EeeByGum - on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to The Lemming: Don't forget that if you are a pension holder, you might own shares in eBay and Starbucks.
The Lemming - on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:
> (In reply to The Lemming) Don't forget that if you are a pension holder, you might own shares in eBay and Starbucks.


And?

If the government could claw back all the money that big business was witholding with the various loopholes, would they then be in a better position to up the Pensions for all?
elsewhere on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to andy:
But profit, wages, business rates, rent, share dividends etc are all paid by consumers too. Like all those VAT is rolled into the price paid.

VAT (or sales tax in US) is a copmmonly used tax on turnover rather than profit.

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