Tax

A simple proposal to help the Treasury

By Lord Ashcroft

Over the last few weeks we have heard a good deal about the tiny amounts of corporation tax being paid in the UK by companies like Starbucks, Amazon and Google. Executives from all three were grilled by the Public Accounts Committee last month; others are sure to follow.

The problem, in a nutshell, is this. Overseas subsidiaries of global companies, incorporated in countries with lower tax rates, can charge royalties to fellow subsidiaries in the UK, or supply goods with a mark up, in order to channel profits between the two subsidiaries and therefore between countries. The effect is to reduce the profits of the part of the business based in Britain, and therefore the tax payable here.

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Tories should not equate philanthropy with tax avoidance

Budget

By Lord Ashcroft

At the last general election David Cameron declared that the Big Society was the Conservatives’ big idea. Whatever one thinks about the potency of the Big Society as a political message – and I have my doubts, as I have said before – it is based on a good Conservative principle: that the state’s role is limited, and voluntary groups have an important part to play in helping society flourish. So it would be a pity if, rather than encouraging such groups, the government’s policies actually damaged them.

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