A note to Polly T, Margaret, Lady Hodge and Richard Murphy

According to MPs on the Pubic Accounts Committee, PricewaterhouseCoopers helped companies cut their corporation tax by setting up bases in Luxembourg, in blatant accordance with the law.

A spokesman for PricewaterhouseCoopers said: “Because we’re not utter fucking morons we tend to look at the laws as they are rather than how some people think they should be.

“And then right, get this – we do our job.

“If you don’t like the laws then you should talk to the people who make them. I’ll give you a great big fucking clue – it’s not us.”

15 thoughts on “A note to Polly T, Margaret, Lady Hodge and Richard Murphy”

  1. If you want the news, the Mash is always the place to start isn’t it? What they make up is true. It’s the MSM in reverse.

  2. Marvellous… sadly, this is not what your man on the street will read, hear or understand. I worry the idiots are shouting too loudly, and we’ll end up suffering.

  3. “Marvellous… sadly, this is not what your man on the street will read, hear or understand. I worry the idiots are shouting too loudly, and we’ll end up suffering.”

    “Cor, blimey, you ‘ere about all that tax avoidance?”
    “Yeah, terrible innit. Cost the taxpayer billions it does”.
    “Terrible”.
    “Yeah, someone should do summik about it”.
    “Yeah. These people should go to jail. Anyway, how do you wanna pay for this? We can do cash if you like, save you the VAT but I can’t give you an invoice.”

  4. I have published a link on my facebook page to the Daily Mash article. My 23 friends will all see it. 🙂

    I suggest we all do likewise. Who knows where it will end up.

  5. @Andrew C

    In another persona I have thousands of followers (I know, it’s ridiculous) and I’ve passed it on to all of them.

    (They’re not followers in any biblical sense, sadly.)

  6. Ah, but the accountants do make the laws when they are seconded to the government departments to assist them in reviewing and drafting new ones. I assumed this was deliberate on the part of the government.

  7. Its politicians that oversee the draftling of laws then VOTE on it. If they do not understand something they have opportunity to seek clarification or reject parts even.

  8. @ TPG

    No, that is not the case. Directors are not required to maximise retained short-term earnings above all else.

    Yes, they should consider effective tax planning as part of their strategy.. but that doesn’t mean taking every available opportunity – even where opportunities are believed to be entirely legal.

    I’ve been in boardrooms discussing tax avoidance strategies and reaching different conclusions according to wider circumstances. It does this debate no service to disregard the agency of directors and companies. Their actions are choices and can be defended as such.

  9. Yet what director will decide to donate extra money belonging to shareholders to the government unless there’s a big PR benefit (and in the case of starbucks it backfired).

  10. It can be about other issues too. E.g. tax rules change, so there’s a risk of setting up a structure that will become obsolete and can be costly/difficult to unwind.

    There’s a big difference between structuring your business for commercial reasons and taking advantage of the tax planning opportunities that structure presents, and structuring specifically with tax planning in mind. Of course the matter may well be the right option. Google, at the PAC show trial, were very honest.. when they had to pick an EU HQ they choose Ireland because, all
    other things considered (availability of good people etc) it would have been daft not to.

    BUT had they chosen London, no shareholder would have gotten very far challenging that. It’s not like every MNC headquartered in the UK is only there because of the adverse PR potential of shipping themselves to Dublin.

  11. “a big PR benefit (and in the case of starbucks it backfired)”. Maybe decent coffee would have helped?

  12. “It can be about other issues too. E.g. tax rules change, so there’s a risk of setting up a structure that will become obsolete and can be costly/difficult to unwind.”

    That’s the bulk of what makes CH interesting to companies – it’s an extremely stable regulatory environment, not subject to random national political or EU whims. The corp tax rate is low-ish, but not like genuine tax havens – it’s primarily the stability that makes it worthwhile.

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