Feeds

David Cameron asks UK biz to pay their low, low taxes

Oi, Dave, less of this 'political point-scoring'

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has told a quarterly meeting of the government's business advisory group that in return for lower taxes, companies should really pay the tax they do owe, while business leaders have accused the government of "political point-scoring".

A government source whispered to Reuters that Cameron had told the meeting that as part of having very low corporation tax, he expected companies to pay the tax that was due.

The PM has said he wants to crack down on tax avoidance while Blighty holds the G8 presidency. Yesterday he wrote to British dependencies like the Cayman Islands and Jersey to ask for more transparency and a better exchange of information on tax issues.

The biz advisory group apparently agreed with Cameron on paying the taxes that are due, but companies have increasingly tried to frame the argument over corporate taxes as a political sop for the masses suffering under austerity, rather than a legitimate desire for overarching change.

The president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Sir Roger Carr, who attended the meeting with the PM, said at a speech at Oxford University's Said Business School that taxation of firms like Google and Amazon had suddenly jumped up the political agenda, but the debate couldn't be about "morality".

“Tax avoidance cannot be about morality – there are no absolutes. It is about responsible judgment, finding the balance between shareholder fiduciary duty, stakeholder responsibility, social awareness, and corporate reputation for acceptable behaviours," Carr said.

“As politicians pursue fairness it is important that any criticisms are grounded in fact and hasty solutions or political point-scoring do not trigger long term unintended consequences."

He added that the CBI rejected "schemes which serve no commercial purpose other than the minimisation of tax, even though such schemes may be legal", but rules needed to be fixed internationally and business needed to be consulted on those rules.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), whose MPs have quizzed Google, Amazon and Starbucks, as well as accounting firms and HM Revenue and Customs, has frequently said that while companies are behaving legally with their taxes, their complex corporate structures and aggressive tax planning is "immoral" and "evil".

Meanwhile, Google could be facing a new investigation from tax officials at HMRC after the whistleblower revelations that led to the firm being called in front of the PAC for the second time last week.

HMRC is apparently considering new lines of inquiry into the Choc Factory, according to The Guardian, after a former Google employee claimed that UK staff were involved in closing sales - contrary to what veep Matt Brittin had previously told the PAC. HMRC refused to comment.

The Prime Minister wouldn't say yesterday if he would be bringing up Google's taxes with Eric Schmidt at the business advisory group meeting, saying only that tax would be part of the meeting. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.