November 12, 2012

Retailers face tough questions from UK lawmakers over tax avoidance

British lawmakers wade into US companies such as Starbucks, Amazon and Google for siphoning profits away from the UK, calling their accounting practices both illegal and immoral.

By admin-demo

British lawmakers wade into US companies such as Starbucks, Amazon and Google for siphoning profits away from the UK, calling their accounting practices both illegal and immoral.

Public Accounts Committee chairman Margaret Hodge led the chorus of UK parliament members saying, "We are not accusing you of being illegal, we are accusing you of being immoral."

Greater details have now emerged on the tax evasion practices of the Starbucks and Amazon, with the latter also having to face a $252m tax investigation in France.

Starbucks was accused of signing a tax sweetening deal with the Dutch government that allowed the coffee major to pay just £8.6m of tax in the last 14 years.

"Why can’t you pass on the benefits to the UK by not overcharging for coffee or billing inflated rates of interest?" Hodge demanded of Starbucks.

Amazon public policy chief Andrew Cecil also faced heat from the PAC for routing all of its sales from Luxembourg.
"Your entire business is here but you pay no tax here and that really riles us," said Hodge of Amazon.