Editorial: Blame the tax loopholes

Related Topics

Chalk up another victory for the PR departments of the global investment banks. Some – including Goldman Sachs – are reportedly considering deferring bonuses for their UK staff until after 6 April to take advantage of the lower top rate of income tax. The prospect of too-big-to-fail banks using such a sly bit of avoidance to save their already over-remunerated staff a tax bill – and at the expense of the struggling British Exchequer – has understandably provoked disgust. Labour's Chris Leslie has warned them to "think carefully" about their reputations.

Sadly, one suspects that if the banks were capable of being shamed out of this kind of antisocial behaviour, it would have happened long ago. In any case, there's something unsatisfactory about politicians urging corporations to do the moral thing on tax. The same was true of Starbucks' recent announcement that it would pay £20m in corporation tax. The coffee giant sounded as though it was making a generous donation to the UK's collecting tin rather than discharging its obligations.

What Britain needs is a robust and unambiguous tax system that requires corporations to pay their share, without the need for negotiations with HMRC, or moral urgings from politicians, or gestures of largesse by pressurised managements. On income tax, it was particularly foolish of the Chancellor to delay the 45p rate for a year. He was warned this would create an incentive for people to defer registering income. And so it has proved.

On corporation tax, what is required is international co-operation to close down tax havens and to prevent multinationals from artificially shifting profits between jurisdictions. Ed Miliband's proposal to require corporations to publish a single figure showing how much corporation tax they pay is sensible. The objective of all politicians should be to eradicate opportunities for aggressive avoidance and sharp practices by multinationals and their employees. A tax regime that relies on corporations choosing to do the right thing is not tenable.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Graduate / Junior C# Developer

£18000 - £25000 Per Annum + bonus and benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

Junior/Trainee Buiness Intelligence (BI) Consultant

£30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior/Trainee Business Intelligen...

Teaching Assistants needed in Flintshire

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Teaching Assistants needed in Flintshi...

Day In a Page

Read Next

i Editor's Letter: Take a moment to imagine you're Ed Miliband...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside  

Autumn’s subtle charm is greatly enhanced by this Indian summer

Michael McCarthy
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits