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Taxman bows to BT pressure

Telco wins massive refund

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BT has won a five year legal battle to reduce the amount it pays in tax.

The monster telco said today it had won a £250 million refund on its local government business rates bills in England and Wales.

The rebate covers valuations based on BT's network assets - things like street cabinets, telephone kiosks and telephone poles.

The higher the valuation - the more it pays in this business tax. By securing a lower valuation of its street property - and this excludes it shops, offices and other buildings, it pays less tax.

According to the ruling, next year BT will also pay £100 million less than its current £310 million rates bill for these network assets.

David Malone, BT Property's head of rating, said: "This is an excellent result for BT and its shareholders."

Indeed it is. A tremendous result for BT.

Except, while they're toasting their success tonight we'd just ask them to pause and think on how local authorities and central government will make up this shortfall.

If the British taxpayer doesn't cough up, it'll mean fewer doctors and nurses to care for our sick and dying; fewer teachers to help our youngsters; and not enough policemen and women on our streets keeping the citizens - no, subjects - of this land safe from harm. ®

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