Starbucks has committed 'basic theft', says entrepreneur

BusinessZone
Dan Martin
Former editor
BusinessZone.co.uk
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Amid the controversy over Starbucks' limited tax contributions in the UK, an entrepreneur has accused the company of 'basic theft'.
"Any multinational like Starbucks that comes into this country and siphons out money needs to be sorted out," said William Chase, founder of Tyrrells Crisps and Chase Vodka.
"All of them are taking our hard earned money and acid stripping it away. It's basic theft."
Starbucks responded to the controversy by announcing it would pay £20m tax over the tax two years but Chase said it was "token gesturism" and "patronising beyond belief."
He continued: "What about all their back taxes? Who are they to decide how much tax to donate to the UK from their Corporate Social Responsibility fund? It's laughable."

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By Michael Sherriff
13th Dec 2012 02:59

I totally agree that they should pay all back tax owed. The fact that they chose the amount that they were willing to pay in tax is nothing short of an insult to all UK businesses. The entire affair is a disgrace and it feels as if they are 'paying off' the UK tax man with a £20m bribe.

I would like to see HMRC make an example of them to send a clear message to companies like Amazon who are guilty of the exact same thing.

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By c21
14th Dec 2012 12:09

What backtax do they owe to HMRC? I am under the impression that not only did they act totally legally, but are also up to date with their tax payments due in the UK.

Do you know different Mr Chase? Please share.

I assume that it is a sub editor's fault for using the term 'acid stripping'. Surely this could have been corrected by now? (It's 'asset stripping'. And Starbucks have built assets in this country rather than stripped them.)

As Mr Chase seems keen for companies to pay tax over and above the legal requirement I call on him to pay at least double his tax bill for producing a snack food which could lead to killer obesity, and selling alcohol, which does vast amounts of damage every day of every year. Morally he should pay more don't you think, regardless of what the law says?

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By buttinski
14th Dec 2012 12:40

If, as a result of legal Transfer Pricing, Starbucks has minimised its UK tax bill, it has only done what every self respecting UK company should have done (minimised its tax bill - a duty to the shareholders).

If this is a problem for the UK government it should make it more attractive for the likes of Starbucks to pay their main tax liability in the UK.

As far as I know Starbucks has provided employment, paid PAYE, NI, and VAT.  It has taken prime retail locations and, overall, added value to UK plc.

If you don't like their coffee, or their tax planning, then don't use them, but I would be very careful about making potentially libellous comments, without having any proof.

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By Richardt123
14th Dec 2012 14:58
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By newdomainer
14th Dec 2012 17:15

HMRC could resolve this by charging a vat type tax of say 20% on the gross turnover of all business done in the UK by non-domiciled companies.
These companies would then have to set up stand alone UK businesses and compete on a level playing field, and of course all this overseas Royalty payment malarky can be outlawed for the corrupt and to put it bluntly; the piss-take that it is.

 

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By buttinski
15th Dec 2012 12:36

And then wave them all goodbye.

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By gocraig
17th Dec 2012 00:56

William Chase's comments make interesting reading.

Whilst I accept that us small businesses are unable to make use of the rules the way Starbucks have, I would respond with two points ..

If your Finance Director is not minimising your tax liability, then you should probably be looking for a replacement.

If there is anyone to blame for this, it isnt Starbucks, its the British Governments over complex tax regime.

Enjoy, and good luck with next years tax returns !!!

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