An Olympian Tax Gap: sign the petition
As has been reported by Tim Hunt at Ethical Consumer Magazine, the Olympic village has been designated a temporary tax haven for the duration of the Olympics.
That means that while the UK taxpayer has shelled out around £11 billion to host the games (that's nearly three times the original budget), participating multinational companies like Visa, Adidas and McDonalds will not pay a penny in tax on the tidy fortunes they stand to make in one of London's poorest neighbourhoods.
Did companies like this really need any tax incentives to sell their products at one of the world's largest and most lucrative sporting events? What exactly is the justification for waiving tax obligations?
Ethical Consumer estimates a tax loss to the UK of £600 to 700 million, money that the country can barely do without, especially as the eventual contribution to the Olympic budget by private companies is merely 2 percdent.
It's hard not to see the whole Olympic project as one huge, corporate party that's very much at our expense in the UK. Even the International Olympic Committee is registered in the well known tax haven of Switzerland. (They're projected to earn £2.7 billion from the games). And the Olympic village is set to be sold to a consortium led by the Qatari Royal Family.
Now Ethical Consumer has teamed up with 38 Degrees and running a campaign calling on companies to waive their tax-free rights, do the right thing and pay up. Please do sign the petition and share it widely and help get some taxpayers money back into the coffers where it belongs. This is an important point of principle. In some ways it's a perfect example of the corporate capture of nation states, governments and citizens and a test of entitlement, rights and privileges.
The petition is here - please sign if (if you agree.)
In July's Taxcast (the Tax Justice Network's eye-opening 15 minute monthly podcast) I'll be covering the Olympic tax haven story and hoping to be reporting that all the Olympic corporate sponsors, partners and companies will have agreed to do the right thing and pay their tax.
Listen/download/share the taxcast on www.tackletaxhavens.com/taxcast