Wednesday, February 15, 2012

HMV gets the tax justice bug

There's an article on the website of the computer and video games site MCV which is short, and well worth reading in full. It says:
"It is ‘absolutely nuts’ online retailers can avoid tax so easily, says HMV. The Government is closing down the Channel Island tax loophole from April, but HMV CEO Simon Fox says this doesn’t go far enough.
. . .
“It can’t be helpful to have your VAT rate as a determinant of where you put your warehouse. It’s a basic distortion to fair competition. The closing of LVCR rules is a good thing, but the way it has been implemented doesn’t necessarily solve anything.

“[The situation] is absolutely nuts. Just as it’s nuts for digital service providers – like iTunes and Amazon Kindle – to be located in low tax locations.

“Unfortunately, all of the high growth digital markets are not delivering the Government tax revenue. It is absolutely idiotic.”
Well said that man (hat tip: GFI). And there's more - read the whole interview. It follows statements from others such as those of GlaxoSmithKline boss Andrew Witty last year, in a similar vein:
I really believe one of the reasons we've seen an erosion of trust , broadly, in big companies is they've allowed themselves to be seen as detached from society, and they will float in and out of societies according to what the tax regime is.
. . .
While the chief executive of the company could move, maybe the top 20 directors could move, what about the 16,000 people who work for us? Its completely wrong, I think, to play fast and loose with your connections with society in that way."
(And there's much more along those lines in that interview.) Both these will go on our quotations page.

Business, and even big business, is getting it. Tax justice has gone mainstream, and it's getting stronger by the day, and spreading around the globe. (note that we reported this, only yesterday.) Why, even Harry Potter is on board, it seems.

But we're under no illusions: we face truly formidable enemies. There's a very, very long way to go.

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