Friday, July 20, 2012

Coca-Cola to pay tax shock, but big questions remain about Olympic tax swindle

Hot on the news that McDonalds have reversed out of the Great Olympic Tax Swindle, comes news that Coca-Cola has also agreed to pay tax on its Olympic profits.

According to Britain's New Statesman magazine: "On Wednesday McDonald's bowed to furious online petitioners, saying that the revenue from the games would only make up 0.1 per cent of annual sales in the UK. Hours later, Coca Cola also conceded and made a statement on their website to pay their fair share of tax during the Games."

And quite right too.  But why should this be left to the discretion of companies facing the wrath of public opinion.  What was going through the heads of the politicians who conceded the Olympic tax haven status in the first place?  And how did sport become such a powerful political lobby that it can force through these totally unnecessary tax exemptions in the first place?  As the New Statesman comments:

". . tax exemption is far from unknown in the Olympic world; in fact, such legislations have long since been endemic to the Games for years. Usain Bolt is just one of the big-name athletes who has pushed tax exemption rules to be adopted by hosting countries."  

Can anyone provide a single good reason why highly paid athletes should not pay tax?  And why profitable corporations should not contribute towards the massive cost of hosting the Olympics in London?  The New Statesman again:

"Organisations like the Olympics promote the idea that only the losers pay tax and the winners, be they competing athletes or corporations that get brownie points for monopolising industries, are lucky enough to get out of helping their country function. As long as we keep this mentality it's inevitable that McDonald's and Coca Cola deciding to pay tax will be something of a shock to us."


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