Surely big companies must know the difference between being in compliance with the law (not exactly the same as obeying the spirit of the law) and doing the right thing…
The focus on the tax affairs of the internet auction house and the Swedish retailer comes amid increasing anger about Starbucks, which Reuters exposed last week as not having paid corporation tax in the UK for the past three years. The Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott called for the chief executive of the US coffee company to appear before a parliamentary committee after notching up £1.2bn of sales in the UK. “[Chief executive Howard] Schultz must come to parliament and come clean on why they pay so little corporation tax,” said Oakeshott.
The internet auction site eBay and Ikea are the latest companies to face scrutiny after the Sunday Times reported that eBay legally channels payments through Luxembourg and Switzerland to avoid paying nearly £50m in tax in Britain. Ikea is said to have legally halved its corporation tax bill in the UK by siphoning off profits abroad in the form of royalty payments to a sister company.
EBay ‘pays £1.2m in UK tax’ on sales of £800m