He had to say it, didn’t he?

Tax accountant Richard Murphy said choosing not to reveal its sales figure was ‘rather odd’.

He said: ‘We have consistently said that the way to avoid criticism is to give us all of the information, and be transparent. Starbucks haven’t given us the information.

Interesting question. Does Murphy now agree that Starbucks wasn’t making profits before and thus was not avoiding tax?

25 thoughts on “He had to say it, didn’t he?”

  1. Murphy is the self-appointed representative of “Civil Society”. As such he believes he is entitled to receive anything he likes.

  2. Tim, you’re wrong about this. Starbucks uk was previously making a substantial profit net of intra-company transfers and disallowing losses not allowable for corporation tax purposes. This is quite clear in its published accounts. So if you see the intra-company transfers as a tax avoidance measure, Starbucks was avoiding tax.

  3. GlenDorran

    Yet when you ask him who either elected or appointed him to that position he calls you a troll and deletes your comments – I think your previous description of him remains the most apposite.

  4. bloke (not) in spain

    “They (HMRC) cannot demand what the law does not require
    The law has to be changed”

    Richard Murphy

    Seems like a definitive statement, Starbucks weren’t avoiding tax, to me.

  5. Intra -group transfers might impact on company profits; intra- company transfers are somewhat less likely to.

  6. I note he’s now calling he self a tax accountant rather than tax expert; all to the good. Now mind you don’t start calling yourself a qualified tax accountant Ritchie.

  7. The slimy tosser. After I posted to tell him that he forgot to mention in his “The Archbishop agrees with me post” that the Archbishop also said that the tax code was too long, Ritchie says I’m dim as I can’t read long documents.

    My reply to remind him I was quoting the Archbishop he deleted. Don’t want to look stupid eh Ritchie?

  8. All the intra-group “transfers” are perfectly reasonable. Starbucks didn’t originate in the UK, nor does it’s secret blend of beans, its marketing doesn’t, and its management was previously based in the Netherlands.

    Its up to HMRC to decide if those “transfers” were at arm’s length or not. That is where the argument should have been (and was) settled. Anything else is pointless noise from people who don’t understand business.

  9. “But it still brews all of its European coffee in the country before selling it on to its businesses in other parts of the world, including the UK.”

    Who wants to drink coffee that has been brewed in the Netherlands before being transported to the UK?

  10. The use of quotes in newspapers is becoming quite outrageous. It seems to mean that the word used is not appropriate or even true, but it is the word the writer requires to get someone to read it.

    Quite endemic in the Mail and the Telegraph.

  11. John77 – all those millions of people who indeed drink Starbucks coffee.
    I just drink their strawberries & cream frappuchino so avoid the coffee as I avoid all coffee by anyone.

  12. “But it still brews all of its European coffee in the country before selling it on to its businesses in other parts of the world, including the UK.”

    Presuming they mean “roasting”. Shock horror that they would roast their coffee in a country that is one of the major European centres of coffee roasing.

  13. I don’t imagine my contribution to this exchange will make it past moderation:-

    Richard Murphy says
    February 5 2015 at 9:40 am
    I publish my limited liability accounts in full when not required to do so by law

    I am a very long way head of Starbucks

    And Starbucks is not only responsible to HMRC – it is responsible to stakeholders too

    And you conveniently ignore that.

    Cyril Lord says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    February 5 2015 at 9:05 pm

    “I am a very long way ahead of Starbucks”. Could I have one of your famous doppio espressos please Richard, and a café russe for my wife? Thank you.

  14. @abacab
    A long time ago when I was a well-paid bachelor (because I was worth 30-odd times that much to my employer) I used to buy coffee beans from a shop in Drury Lane in my lunch hour.They were all freshly roasted that day. On at least one occasion I waited in the shop while one part of my selection finished roasting.

  15. Cyril my boy (or should I be more respectful)……

    If you’re going to play that game, perhaps take some tips from Jack C, and be (close enough to “but not quite if you’re paying attention”) subtle!?

    Unless of course you’re after “instant gratification” and simply can’t be bothered…:)

  16. @PaulB

    Yes, you should have said ‘intra-group’ instead of ‘intra-company’.

    You should also have said ‘purchases’ instead of ‘transfers’.

    Starbucks sells shit coffee from prime locations in a very competitive market. If there is anything weird about all of this it’s that they’re now managing to make a profit out of it – if there’s any dodgy accounting then I’d expect it’s been done to boost UK profits a bit in the hope that the ‘Tax Justice’ dribblers will fuck off and bother someone else. Last year they figured that £20m was a reasonable price to pay to try and achieve that.

  17. “And Starbucks is not only responsible to HMRC – it is responsible to stakeholders too”

    I’m sure their shareholders are indeed provided with adequate figures.

    But he didn’t mean that, did he? Never one for simply letting words have their dictionary definitions. Lemme guess – “Stakeholders” includes “civil society” of whom he is self-appointed Kommisar.

  18. @abacab

    It is a listed company, isn’t it? So there should be no data provided to (ultimate) shareholders that is not also available to the general public.

  19. abacab: we now have RM’s definition of stakeholders. Stakeholders means everybody. Starbucks is responsible to everybody. Bonkers. But sort of lovely too, in a funny neo post liberal way.

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