Osborne ‘turning a blind eye’ to tax avoidance, says charity

By agency reporter
December 10, 2012

A report released by War on Want has revealed that the anti-abuse rule announced by the Chancellor will have no impact on the tax avoided by Amazon, Google and Starbucks. The charity says that the report, Avoiding Avoidance, shows the government rejected the opportunity to recover up to £5.5 billion a year via a General Anti-Avoidance Principle, instead opting only to target ‘artificial and abusive’ tax avoidance through an ‘anti-abuse’ rule.

Murray Worthy of War on Want said: “This government is turning a blind eye to the enormous scale of corporate tax avoidance, completely ignoring the public demand that tax avoidance needs to be eliminated. Nothing Osborne said [in the Autumn Statement] will stop the billions being avoided by giant multinationals like Amazon, Google and Starbucks. Instead, by just tinkering around the edges, Osborne is sending a clear message that these big companies can keep avoiding tax. This is yet more hypocrisy from a government that is all too keen to talk tough on tax avoidance, yet is giving up on billions lost every year.”

War on Want’s report argues that under the government’s proposed plans the types of tax avoidance undertaken by large multinational companies would now be considered responsible ‘tax planning’, while only a tiny minority of cases at the very fringes of what is legal would be covered by the new rule.

Responding to the government’s pledge to meet the aid target of 0.7 per cent of GNI in 2013, Murray Worthy said: “Tackling the hundreds of billions lost to developing countries through tax avoidance and evasion every year would have done far more to tackle world poverty and inequality than the government’s pledge to give 0.7 per cent in aid.”

Read the report 'Avoiding Avoidance' here: http://www.waronwant.org/attachments/Avoiding%20Avoidance.pdf


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