Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Now STFU about Amazon, Starbucks et al

I'm not usually one for quoting people verbatim, but I make an exception in this case because the original is behind the paywall at the Times, and because Tim Worstall makes his point crystal clear:

How can you accuse a company of tax avoidance when it is doing exactly what the law tells it to do?
Logic or common sense does not usually stop the bleatings of politicians but this all-party outrage about big corporations dodging taxes is absolutely ludicrous. The EU, under the single-market rules, positively encourages the business behaviour that is being criticised.
Yes, it is true that Amazon pays a lower rate of corporation tax by basing itself in Luxembourg, and Google and Facebook in Ireland. But doing this is not a sign of corporate chicanery or crafty lawyers exploiting loopholes; rather it is the very point of the Single Market (articles 26, 28, 49, 54 and 56 of the basic European Union Treaty). A company that wants to sell to all 27 EU countries needs to have its European headquarters in only one EU state. VAT is charged (except, oddly, on digital goods) where the delivery is made to, and corporation tax is levied on where that single brass plate is. As HMRC has recently pointed out, this is not avoidance, this is just the way corporation tax works.
It is true that Amazon has warehouses in the UK but we also have a double taxation treaty with Luxembourg — as we have with many other countries — which states that tax is not chargeable on the profits made from sales from warehouses and logistics chains.
It is true that Starbucks pays royalties to a Dutch company, thus apparently dodging UK tax. But EU law (council directive 2003/49/EC ) states that such royalty payments within the EU are not only allowed — it forbids the taxation of the payments in the country sending them.
These companies are not making a mockery of our tax laws: they are obeying the rules and regulations in each and every particular. They are not even avoiding tax, as these companies are doing specifically what the law intends, even to the point that we have laws that forbid national governments from stopping these multinationals doing what they have been doing.
All of which leads to a much more important question: why do we now have such an incompetence of politicians whining about the laws that they have spent the past four decades enacting? They could claim simple ignorance of what they have done but that is hardly a strong defence, is it?
Yet it is still true: they have deliberately built a tax system in which all the things they are complaining about are not actually tax evasion nor even avoidance. They are simply tax compliance — obeying the law of the land as it was intended and written.

Now, will the BBC, the Guardian, the Mail and the rest STFU? If you don't like what's going on then campaign to leave the EU, otherwise live with the fact that these companies are doing exactly what they've been told to do.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How Much Did They Spend Of Our Money?

With perfect timing, sceptic blogger Maurizio Morabito has revealed the list of 28 individuals who attended the BBC climate change seminar in 2006 which lead to their abandoning any pretence at impartiality on the subject. This is the same list that Tony Newbery of Harmless Sky blog has been battling to get through the Freedom of Information Act. The BBC spent a fortune on high profile lawyers in facing Newbery in court - a lone pensioner who represented himself in court. Andrew Orlowski of the Register has covered in some detail here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/07/bbc_is_private_go_away/

Yet again we find that the sceptic blogosphere is creative, persistence and just can't be ignored.

One of the questions that we need answered now is to get an idea of how much the BBC squandered in fighting FOI requests. How much of our cash was wasted trying to hide a document that had previously been published on the web? Who decided it was so important to keep the list - embarassing because of the paucity of scientific expertise present - secret?

Heads ought to roll - how about some of the BBC attendees:
  • George Enwistle 
  • Helen Boaden
  • Peter Rippon
  • Steve Mitchell
Funny how those four names are already in the news...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Privatise the BBC

What other response can there be to the on-going 'crisis' at the BBC? What we are seeing is typical of the most poisonous organisation in the UK. The combination of liberal-breast beating, cathartic bouts of self-flagellation and looking after their own is what the BBC does best. Add to which it gives them the chance to do what they like to do at every opportunity, which is to focus inwards.

Let's be honest, the BBC is the most morally corrupt organisation in the country. The real scandal isn't Jimmy Saville, it's the very existence of a state broadcaster that made Stalinist era Pravda look like a beacon of independence. The BBC is the propaganda arm of the liberal establishment. It deserves to die.

Friday, November 09, 2012

UK To End Aid To India

About bloody time...

Now to follow through and cull every aid project anywhere in the world to do with global warming etc. Tackling real problems in poor countries is one thing, handing out money to tackle phantoms is something else altogether.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

New Archbishop

I've often thought that the Church of England is the BBC at prayer. After all they share so many similar concerns - global warming, 'economic justice', love for the EU, a belief that the state can solve all problems etc. In which case I should not be surprised by the fact that the new Archbishop is described as follows:

Bishop of Durham Justin Welby, a former oil industry worker, is set to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Oil industry worker conjures images of grimy engineers, burly blokes battling the elements on oil rigs and so on. In fact Eton-educated Justin Welby would more accurately be described as an oil industry executive or manager, but that's so un-BBC...