Thursday, March 06, 2008

Will Toynbee resign?

Obviously, I would prefer her to slit her wrists in a warm bath, but one is led to wonder whether Ms Toynbee actually believes what she writes, or whether she just spouts this bullshit in order to rake in her fat salary. Because, here's darling Polly, last week, writing the evil tax-dodging Tesco's.
The Guardian's revelation of Tesco's Cayman Islands tax arrangements reminds the world that our tax lawyers are world-beating at "tax-efficiency". When such an emblematic company takes such steps, it speaks volumes about national tax avoidance culture. Check out the recent report The Missing Billions from tax expert Richard Murphy, for the TUC, who identified £25bn of tax lost from the exchequer. He lists major companies whose tax payments don't begin to reflect the size of business and profits they seem to command in Britain. Note the tiny tax paid by BSkyB, Hanson, and Legal & General. It may be legal but that's not the point: profitable companies shouldn't be able to shuffle assets to pay less tax. Where is the public shame at "socially responsible" companies avoiding the spirit of the law? British stamp-duty payers may gnash their teeth over British Land Plc paying little tax, quite legally, when land values soared.

And here's ex-Gurdian employee, Simon Goodley, writing in the Telegraph today.
I'll begin with my former employer, the Guardian Media Group, following its flagship paper's investigation last week into Tesco's use of tax efficient Cayman Island vehicles.

That one drew quite a bit of flak from those Farringdon Road firebrands, with a Guardian leader thundering: "The Government should make it clear that paying a fair share of taxes is not an option but a duty."

Odd, then, that buried on page 25 of yesterday's paper was the following notice: "Guardian Media Group plc, parent company of the Guardian, in partnership with Apax Partners, has incorporated a new company registered in the Cayman Islands as part of its proposed acquisition of Emap plc."

A spokesman from GMG is then quoted as saying: "The tax arrangements of Apax Partners and GMG for the acquisition of Emap plc are completely legitimate, and are based on accepted practice and the recommendation of our advisers. This is not about GMG avoiding tax - indeed we have paid an average of 34pc tax over the last five years."

No, of course, it isn't. Which rather begs the question, why incorporate a Cayman Islands company at all?
GMG's statement raises one obvious question. As the move isn't about avoiding tax, can we assume that the company is paying at least as much duty on this deal as it would have done had it never engaged with the Cayman Islands?

A GMG spokesman waffles on about paying the same amount of corporation tax as if the bidding vehicle were a UK-registered company, before reiterating that "the deal is structured as a UK Scheme of Arrangement so no stamp duty is payable on the acquisition". Sounds like less tax to me, then.

As Timmy says,
Let’s see what Richard Murphy, Prem Sikka and Polly T all have to say about this, eh?

Indeed. I wonder, will Polly resign in disgust? Or will she decide that it is her duty to continue to pontificate from her Grauniad pedestal? Given that an alleged £140,000 per annum hangs in the balance, what do you think?

12 comments:

James said...

I predict a full on whirlwind of total and utter silence.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Polly uses an accountant to minimise her tax's?

Anonymous said...

The GMG deal is a £1 billion takeover of EMAP and stamp duty is 0.5%
ie they save £5 million of tax by doing it this way . At least .

Reminds one of MP's expenses ..

JuliaM said...

"..one is led to wonder whether Ms Toynbee actually believes what she writes, or whether she just spouts this bullshit in order to rake in her fat salary."

You really wonder this, or is it rhetorical?

She has no problem taking the money. Who, at the 'Guardian', would point it out, since they are all hypocrites too....

Anonymous said...

Toynbee is just an overpaid (and very successful) wind-up merchant. Don't waste your blog space on the daft old trout.

Shotgun said...

Note the tiny tax paid by BSkyB, Hanson, and Legal & General. It may be legal but that's not the point: profitable companies shouldn't be able to shuffle assets to pay less tax.

It's a pity she took an opposite view to what Labour MP's were getting up to isn't?

It may be legal [to fiddle expenses] but that's not the point....

Cheesy piss flap like wrinkle faced old fucking trout.

Anonymous said...

Ms Toynbee has no problem with any of this I predict. Remember, she is only outraged on behalf of those Guardian readers who are offended by the likes of Tesco.

These self same people however are not outraged by what the Guardian does, or indeed what any member of the left ruling classes does with their expenses, so Polly has no cause to worry.

Anonymous said...

Doesn’t Toynbee miss the main point, which is that corporations do not pay tax? In effect, tax is always and everywhere paid by the individuals that own a company, so a normal company avoiding tax makes no difference, since it simply leaves more money over to be taxed when it is paid to the owners.

There is, of course, one possible exception to this: companies that aren't owned by anyone. In this regard, it's possible that the Guardian Media Group's tax avoidance does deprive the revenue of taxation, because the money stays in trust rather than being paid out to tax-paying individuals.

Rob said...

Tax is for other people.

Rory Meakin said...

"In effect, tax is always and everywhere paid by the individuals that own a company"

In fact, the vast majority of the incidence of corporation tax falls principally upon employees (in lower wages) and also consumers (higher prices) rather than owners (lower dividends).

Cutting corporation tax has little effect on net profits. It does have a very big effect on emplyee's wages, however. No wonder the employees' co-operative that is GMG is so keen on it for its own affairs.

Roger Thornhill said...

There is no greater hypocrite than a Socialist hypocrite.

number 6 said...

Polly is paid! Oh my earth mother I thought she was doing it all for free in an attempt to liberate the working class from the yoke and facist outpourings of capatilist newspapers like the Sun.

I must cancel my subscription to the Gruandian today and (yes I shall) fish the copies I have read out of my hemp recycling bag and throw then in the bin as a further sign of protest.