Is Unitary Taxation the way to stop Corporate Tax Avoidance 1


Taxes

Last week – 21st May 2013 – Accountancy Age reported that Apple had achieved the impossible, they had 3 subsidiaries that were not tax resident any where on earth!

While the US Senate committee held Apple is “one of the US’s biggest tax avoiders”, it noted the business had not done anything illegal.

In the committee’s report, chair Carl Levin said Apple was using “gimmicks” to avoid tax.

“Apple wasn’t satisfied with shifting its profits to a low-tax offshore tax haven,” he said. “Apple sought the Holy Grail of tax avoidance. It has created offshore entities holding tens of billions of dollars, while claiming to be tax resident nowhere.

But its not just Apple as reported by the Guardian on Friday 24th May 2013
Apple is the latest company under the spot light for organised tax avoidance. In common with Starbucks, Google, Amazon, eBay, Microsoft and others it routes transactions  through low or no tax jurisdictions to reduce its tax bill. Indignant ministers gnash their teeth and the corporate merry-go-round continues.
Basically Unitary Taxation treats a Business as a single unified Business rather than a collection of entities, it then apportions overall global profit to countries based on genuine economic activity, each country sees the report and then charges tax accordingly. It sounds like the perfect solution to me.
The Tax Justice Network have written a report ‘Towards Unitary Taxation of Transnational Corporations‘ (9 December 2012) it explains how Unitary Taxation could work and how it might solve the current tax avoidance problems.
Is it the solution we are looking for?
steve@bicknells.net

One comment

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