Osborne threatens tax-avoiding tech companies

Companies in the technology sector have been warned by George Osborne that their days of going to “extraordinary lengths to pay little or no tax” are numbered.

All but promising new tax measures in Autumn Statement 2014, the chancellor said he would “put a stop” to multinationals being able to avoid their UK corporation tax liabilities.

He stated: “While we offer some of the lowest business taxes in the world, we expect those taxes to be paid – not avoided.

“Some technology companies go to extraordinary lengths to pay little or no tax here. If you abuse our tax system, you abuse the trust of the British people. And my message to those companies is clear: we will put a stop to it. Low taxes, but low taxes that are paid.”

While no company was singled out by Mr Osborne, who was speaking at the Conservative party conference, the promised anti-avoidance measures have been dubbed ‘the Google tax.’

The US internet company was criticised in late 2012 when its UK boss, Matt Brittin, argued it was the duty of any company to its shareholders to pay the minimum taxes.

One of those critics was this week resolute, saying Mr Osborne’s warning of a clampdown on large (mainly US) companies seeking to avoid paying tax in the UK was “not before time.”

IT analyst Richard Holway, the chairman of TechMarketView also said: “Everyone – including US tech groups- should pay their fair share to the UK economy [as] we all benefit from it.”

He added: “We should all pay our fair share… [because] what we need is low taxes. Only if all parties pay their fair share will such low taxes be available to all.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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