Let’s recognise how much tax firms already pay

When milking a cow, always be careful not to pull off the udders.

The news revealed today that the Government is considering plans to oblige companies to publish how much tax they pay in every country they operate in could initially seem like a good idea. In general, transparency is better than opacity and sunshine, as we know, is a great bleach.

SD0001: Business taxes should be as close to zero as possible. If every country had a zero business rate then it would be equal. It is the money taken out of the business that should be taxed. The owners, directors, and shareholders are the ones that should be paying the tax. A business is a non-human entity. Money that is retained in a business can be used for investment and employment. 

graeme_davey: How much tax they already pay… None isn't it-once the subsidies are taken into account

bernard: What a pity, I am only allowed to recommend  peter_doff once.

joepublik: For individual tax payers with an international background "transparency"  has already arrived courtesy of Obama - who else! The name of the beast is FATCA. Nothing has been written about it in the UK press, or any press for that matter, but the UK was the first to sign an IGA with the US in September. Google it and be afraid, very afraid. An article would be appropriate don't you think Kamal.

starburn: "After much combing through the accounts, the business department came to the conclusion that Starbucks made no profit in the UK and therefore was not due to pay tax. Why they then agreed to make a “voluntary payment” appeared wrong-headed to many, including me." I thought this was settled that yes they make no profit in the UK, but only thanks to a handy tax avoidance of royalty payments to lower tax countries?

bobdoney: Interesting notion that businesses pay "employees' national insurance" and "employees' taxes". The clue is in the respective names! Employers collect them, but they don't "pay" them in any meaningful sense. Similarly with VAT. Most VAT is "paid" ultimately by the consumer, except in the case of certain non-deductible input tax, such as that on entertaining expenditure. Again the intermediate business acts as unpaid tax collector, and that is all. Otherwise the point is well made about businesses' rates and all the rest of it.

stockpicker72: And we're told the government is out of touch… Big business should be able to make money without relying on tax fixing to do so. If they need to fiddle their taxes then their businesses models are fundamentally wrong or they are not serving any positive purpose in their existence. 

TruthDestroysWorlds: Britain is currently a Corporatocracy. A group of nations that are actually being run, both by, and for, the benefit of the dominant corporations. For in truth, they actually OWN our government, many years of lobbying have seen to that. And the people are merely there to be fleeced in the most efficient manner possible by those said dominant corporations. As is now 'clearly' the case. Whether it be the bankers, or the providers of domestic fuels, transport fuels, or the established British supermarkets. All treat their customers with an utter contempt.

keithfromashford: "When milking a cow, always be careful not to pull off the udders." Sounds like the FTSE 100 CEO's milking their cash cows for profits and dividends. The FTSE 100 would be 9660 today if it had just kept pace with inflation since 1999. The markets feel the FTSE 100 companies are being ravaged by short term profit taking.

nautonier: Big companies or small companies? British companies or foreign companies? VAT registered or non VAT registered? Import and export companies?

RetiredTaxman: As I understand itas long as you are above the registration threshold, the only companies who pay VAT are those like the Banks who are VAT exempt and are unable to reclaim their input VAT. In any event all business taxes ultimately reflect in prices.

Grumpytom: Slowly and surely tax is being spun as a good thing. No that zero is an ideal, but lower should be an objective.  Be it personal or corporate, that is if we live in a capitalist, merit based democracy.
When a monopoly can charge what it likes, with impunity, with disregard for the consumer of its product or service then you are soon to see a bad outcome. When budgets can and do rise without let or hindrance you will see largesse and growing inefficiencies. We are there already.
We have had governments where the only real differentiation is the colour of the rosettes as they all strive to crowd the centre ground of mediocrity and trying to be nice to everyone and offend no one.  This is unreal. Lower taxes mean more wealth, in the long run, for everyone. We know the opposite is not true, we only need to look to our east for examples.

starburn: "The level of taxes borne by this “Hundred Group” has increased by 19pc since 2005" so, roughly in line with inflation.

Ross : But very much below the curve when their increased profits are accounted for. 

starburn:  Yes agreed. The story reads like "poor banks, their tax payments have increased so much in the last eight years", when in reality this is merely in-line with inflation, so standing still, and worse, as you point out, not increasing in-line with increasing profits…

keithfromashford: The big multi-national companies are sitting on large cash piles which they could invest anywhere in the world, but they aren’t.  This shows that the large-multinational corporations think there is no pent up demand for their products globally and so there is no point in investing in further production capacity in the UK or anywhere else. There is much debate about whether increasing supply leads to increased demand or increasing demand leads to increased supply.  Which came first the chicken or the egg? The multi-national companies obviously feel that increasing demand leads to increased supply as they are sitting on their cash piles. If they felt increasing supply lead to increased demand they would be investing in new production capacity now. In the boom times the multi-national companies, that were so in favour of globalisation, have called for a decreased role of the nation state and to leave things to the free market. In the lean times we see everyone calling on the nation states to deal with all the problems while the multi-national companies sit on their cash piles.  The multi-national companies, in turn, deprive nation states of tax revenue by sighting their headquarters in the lowest tax region; hiding profits in tax havens and moving money around to avoid paying as much tax as possible by exploiting every loop hole they can. As we can now see how multi-national companies behave it is very important that at a global level nation states take their fair share of tax revenue as these companies pass the buck to the nation states to sort out the problems in the bad times whilst they sit back and ready themselves to profit from the good.

postkey: "Let’s recognise how much tax firms already pay" Let’s recognise how much tax the bottom 10% pay? The bottom 10% of households have an average gross income of £9622 and pay an average of £4621 {48.03%} in direct and indirect taxes. A large proportion of benefits are returned to the treasury in the form of indirect and direct taxation so that the net cost is substantially lower than the gross cost?

dodgydave: Blah blah blah.  So now lets count the taxes that the public pay and say that it's business that's paying them.  Such propaganda.

rod: On the contrary Dave, businesses don't pay tax: only their customers pay tax.

nefti: Mr. Creosote needed 10,000 calories a day to cart his bloated body around. If he'd been an average size, three squares a day would have sufficed. If we had a government that was a sensible size, the amount of tax paid would immediately be recognised as insane.