Your flatulent tosspottery of the day

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., declined to comment on the U.K. deal. The U.K. tax authority, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, said the successful conclusion of the agency’s inquiries “secured a substantial result, which means that Google will pay the full tax due in law on profits that belong in the U.K.”

“We honestly have no idea if this is a reasonable amount of payment,” said Alex Cobham, director of research for the Tax Justice Network. “It’s further proof of the need for transparency.”

Well done Alex. HMRC spends a decade combing the books and you, from your position of admitted ignorance, despite those who have actually done the work insisting that all tax is being paid, want to question it.

Yes, well done.

47 thoughts on “Your flatulent tosspottery of the day”

  1. Cobham is a “development economist” and serial charity/quango jumper. Not a tax accountant, not even a regular accountant, and as far as I can work out he has no experience whatsoever in the private sector.

  2. When he was at CGD (relatively good guys) he got that Zambia copper story horribly, horribly, wrong, as Maya Forstater pointed out. Might be why he’s at TJN, not CGD

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    In fairness he said he didn’t know. I think that is an improvement. Usually Social Justice Warriors claim a cover up.

  4. Worth noting that HMRC hasn;t seen fit to take Google to the General Commissioners High Court etc., which they would be quite willing to do if they had a case worth making.

  5. HMRC has spent a decade combing the books trying to apply tax law to google’s business structure which is probably designed to minimise tax liabilities under the law. It is hardly flatulent tossppotery to want to take a look at what our public servants have done. You lot are not usually inclined to take the performance of government on trust, and the point here is not just that HMRC might have done its job badly under current rules but that we want to see how the rules are working so that we can see whether there is a case for changing them.

  6. Company gets audited. Audit discovers a few accountancy errors. Company pays resultant unpaid liability. Film at ten.

    If the Tax Justice Network was audited would they find their accounts as clean as it turned out Google’s were. Yes, such a tiny amount of missed tax shows the accounting errors were tiny.

  7. There’s something to be said for opening up more information that is currently deemed “confidential”. Don’t think I’d go as far as Norway with publishing everyone’s tax return, but publishing more information for certain types of company doesn’t seem unreasonable.

  8. But we know what the “problem” is. That companies without a PE can sell across borders and be taxed in their jurisdiction of residency. That’s it, there is no more. And there’s no way we could have the Single Market if that were not true. There will always be some such distinction between small companies who do not need to file 28 tax returns and large ones who do file where they have a significant presence.

    Even Ritchie’s unitary taxation will still make the distinction. No one at all is going to institute a system where one sale into a jurisdiction means filing a tax return there. Just. Not. Going. To. Happen.

    So, that distinction will always exist.

  9. In fairness, Ritchie at the Treasury Select Committee defended the right of taxpayers to confidentiality in their dealings of this kind with HMRC.

    Maybe Alex needs to watch the video.

  10. @jgh

    According to their latest accounts, the TJN has just completed a very long discussion with HMRC which means their split into two operations was not necessary to give them a not for profit status. As a result, they are getting corporation tax paid refunded.

    But somehow, such things are not acceptable for others.

  11. Again an example of how the scum of the left can repeat shite endlessly using their conformity control of all media (save the Net) and eventually the shite becomes a worthless but omnipresent meme. Once taken up leftists who aren’t supposed to be leftists–eg The Daily Wail etc –then nonsense becomes a tangible force for evil.

  12. Luis, Arnald. You can know.

    No, in all actuality they can’t know.

    Let me list the reasons why:
    1) No education in accounting
    2) No education in taxation
    3) No training in accounting
    4) No training in taxation
    5) No experience in accounting
    6) No experience in taxation
    …as well as…
    7) No education in tax auditing
    8) No training in tax auditing
    9) No experience in tax auditing
    10) No education in multinational corporate taxation
    11) No training in multinational corporate taxation
    12) No experience in multination corporate taxation
    …and on and on and on…

    I’d be more sympathetic to their wishes for greater transparency if either of them actually had the tools to do anything (anything correctly, that is) with the information that would be provided.

    The idea that either of them is going to sit down and plow through decade’s worth audit workpapers, position papers and resolution memoranda when they lack any grounding via education, training or experience – and don’t know a fucking thing about the specific tax issues at hand – is beyond ridiculous. And the notion that they could be in the position to actually attempt pass judgment of the “fairness” (or whatever) of the settlement is, at best, fantasy.

    It’s akin to you asking a surgeon to videotape your gall bladder operation so you review his performance later on. Unless you’re a doctor with training and experience in surgery, the only thing you can do with it is misunderstand it.

    Your surgeon would be well within his rights to tell you to fuck off.

    Google and HMRC are well within their rights to tell those calling for more ‘transparency’ the same.

  13. Adrian said:
    “In fairness, Ritchie at the Treasury Select Committee defended the right of taxpayers to confidentiality in their dealings of this kind with HMRC.”

    Interesting – wonder what he’s been up to that he doesn’t want to be revealed. The taxable nature of grant income, perhaps?

  14. Peasant.

    It’s not about reviewing. When you’re about to have an operation, and often afterwards, the surgeon describes to you what the procedure will be, and how it went. Will the surgeon say “I’m not telling you because a) you have no education, b) no training and c) no experience”?

    When a mechanic fixes a car they should itemise the work done and the materials used. You don’t need to be a mechanic to ask what the mechanic’s done.

    Log reports are everywhere in all fields. Sometimes they’re interesting.

    I guess you’re they type that knows; has education, training and experience in everything, everywhere, so there’s no curiosity.

    Normal people should not be curious because they probably don’t know what they want to be curious about.

    I look forward to your next opinion.

    How many watches do you own, Peasant?

  15. Arnald –

    As usual, you attempt to misrepresent my statements when they are inconveniently beyond your ability to address …

    It’s one thing to education yourself about what experts are doing, or going to be doing, it’s quite another to attempt to pass judgment on the quality of their work.

    Your intellectual dishonesty – and deficiencies – are not unknown to us, you know. The idea that you have a dispassionate interest in researching this issue is nonsense. You want the information released so you can misrepresent it to further your personal agenda. As always.

    It’s what losers do.

    Watches? 41. Mostly vintage.

  16. Peasant

    Your comment just goes to show what a twat you are.

    I said

    “What’s wrong with wanting to know?”

    You spazzed out saying no-one should know who isn’t ‘educated, trained, and experienced’ in whatever field they wanted to know something about. You even gave the surgeon as an example. So therefore, you decided, transparency should only be for those like you, in case anyone else has an opinion. You want to stop people coming to conclusions. A dirty fascist.

    I didn’t misrepresent anything. You prove you can’t see further than the length of your arm, hence your fetish for watches no doubt. You probably think you win every single argument because of your ridiculous ego. It’s obviously bigger than Murphy’s. At least he can boast getting the media coverage. Counts for some in this age.

    And as for ‘furthering my personal agenda’, Jesus’ mono-cycling exhibition team.

    Get back to trying to read the time. It’ll click one of these days.

  17. Dennis

    as it happens, I have spent my entire working life around company accounts, tax and economics, but never mind that, there are people out there who would meet your exacting standards and those interested in consulting them can do so. transparency is not just for me and Arnald.

    I reckon Alex is right that a little more information about the nature of the underpayments HMRC got Google for, and how Google is taxed by the UK, would be a public good.

  18. DTP–Yeah–you “spazzed” out Man–Arnie hasn’t quite got this cultural Marxist shite down pat has he?

    The accumulated strange substances he has been holidaying with seem to be catching up with him.

  19. @ Arnald
    There is nothing wrong with wanting to know.
    But, ignoring the blather from the non-resident expert on non-UK tax, there is a law which says that HMRC isn’t allowed to tell you. So tough luck.
    As for Mr Cobham, what is wrong with his statement is that it implies megalomania – *he* should know everything about everyone’s personal affairs. And he would presumably demand that you should pay an extra £1,000 in income tax because you benefit unfairly from a higher personal allowance than UK residents.

  20. “there is a law which says that HMRC isn’t allowed to tell you”

    there is that. I don’t know how much scope there is for HMRC to be able to say a bit more about the tax affairs of individual companies, and about how settlements are reached and for what. So I guess Alex and maybe me too need to also be making a case that the law ought to be changed to permit a bit more public access to info about how corporations are taxed. I can obv. see case for privacy. Not saying I would know how to draft a better law.

  21. I’m seeing this as a difference between information and knowledge.
    Increased transparency that is being called for only increases the amount of information, to know what that means is something else entirely.
    A surgeon describing the procedure is now different from HMRC saying we are doing an audit and this is what we found,the surgeon isn’t going to give you any real detail of the procedure.
    As for this area, having done some work with multinational accounting etc. I agree with Dennis that it isn’t ever going to be explainable in a simple easy manner.
    This is the main problem with transparency and CbC and other schemes, sometimes difficult stuff can’t be parsed down to anything meaningful without a whole load of information, theory and experience.

  22. Arnald –

    I didn’t “spazz out”, I called you on your bullshit. That’s all.

    Luis –

    as it happens, I have spent my entire working life around company accounts, tax and economics…

    Me, too. Big deal.

    That’s a wonderfully vague way of acknowledging you don’t have the specialized knowledge to properly review the settlement. Look, I couldn’t properly analyze the information either. There’s no shame in that. The only difference between you and I is that I’ve freely admitted it and acknowledged that the information would be useless in my hands and you haven’t.

    And yeah, I do believe you and some of your buddies would pool around $10K or so and hire an expert to give the situation a proper review.

    Arnald and Luis –

    Can we all assume that you’ve already searched the last 10 years’ worth of 10-Qs and 10-Ks for information on this subject? Can we assume that you’ve scoured Google’s investor relations database for all relevant press releases? Found whatever information HMRC has released publicly?

    Or can we assume that you’ve done nothing more than casually follow it in the newspapers until now, when your insatiable thirst for knowledge was activated by the announcement of a settlement that ran counter to your most closely held personal prejudices?

    John77 –

    This time yesterday you didn’t understand the difference between tax basis and GAAP basis. On top of that you didn’t know that SEC filings were GAAP basis.

    Go to work, son, the drainpipes need a clean.

  23. Penis

    “Me, too. Big deal.”

    Well you also said

    “No, in all actuality they can’t know.

    Let me list the reasons why:
    1) ……”

    “I’d be more sympathetic to their wishes for greater transparency if either of them actually had the tools to do anything (anything correctly, that is) with the information that would be provided”

    “lack any grounding via education, training or experience – and don’t know a fucking thing ”

    So it was a big deal, wasn’t it? Actually, because you are so far up your own arse, I’d say someone who questions deals like these show far more intelligence than you.

    Still, believe what’s spoon fed to you.

  24. I find it curious that folks like Arnie and Richie and Alex would rather get HMRC spending a lot of time justifying their decision to them – as if these ignorant toss-pots are owed anything – rather than investigating other cases. They would prefer maybe an additional £100k of tax income, or maybe a negative settlement based on even more knowledge, rather than cracking down on all the other really urgent cases of TAX EVASION. Have these morons never considered the concept of opportunity cost? We all know that Murph hasn’t, because he is a heterodox economist – one who makes up nonsense as he drifts through life contaminating the world with his ignorance and stupidity.

  25. Dennis you obnoxious individual I was merely saying your presumptions about me happen to be wrong, my past contains accounting training and my present includes er advising governments on tax policy. But yes I am not an actual tax accountant or tax lawyer so depending on what info is I need to consult, if info is available I can do so, if it isn’t nobody can.

  26. Luis –

    Obnoxious? Perhaps. It would depend on your perspective. But I can’t help but noticing you didn’t answer any of the questions I posed to you. So from my perspective, you find me obnoxious because I called your bluff and you had to fold.

    Huff and puff all you want to, but don’t expect for me to be impressed the next time you try to pass off cynicism as knowledge.

  27. What you mean the question about whether I’ve read the last 10 years of filings? I’d rather thought that was rhetorical.

    Lord knows why I’m bothering, who could care less. you wrote stuff about lack of education and experience. You could have the good grace to acknowledge it but I know that does fit your angry old fart profile.

  28. What you mean the question about whether I’ve read the last 10 years of filings? I’d rather thought that was rhetorical.

    So the answer is “no”.

    You want greater transparency and more access to private information while at the same time confirming that to date you haven’t bothered at even attempting to acquire the information that is publicly available.

    We adults call that dilettantism.

    And you wonder why I might then question your motives…

  29. “And you wonder why I might then question your motives…”

    So what are my motives for being interested in how HMRC comes to its conclusions after 10 years of looking at bits of paper with numbers and words on? I mean, I’m so thick I can’t even count, let alone do my fucking job.

    Maybe you don’t like the idea of transparency because you’re up to your neck in false tax returns and money laundering schemes? While screwing the wife of Inspector General of the IRS, probably. And his daughter.

  30. Luis, Arnald, etc

    I think it’s the presumption of guilt that stirs passions.

    Google is an American idea, realised as a Californian-based company (the state matters for tax), selling globally, beamed down from the cloud, etc etc. The figures involved are mind-numbing.

    Some assume that HMRC have caved in to Google, without facts to back that up.

    It seems sane to assume-until-proved-otherwise that Google are above board, but have minimised tax where legally possible, and may have paid incorrect tax in certain places (both too much and too little). By “incorrect”, I mean “because there’s no right answer”. Companies like Google are new.

    The useful argument to have – and this applies also to the Great Bureaucracies we pay to sort this stuff out – is whether current rules are clear enough, or fair enough.

    Don’t just assume foul play, or assume that you get Virtue points for doing so.

  31. Since the most interesting point raised was about watches I will start there. I own 2 watches. I have my grandfathers pocket watch which I allow few the pleasure of seeing. I also have a “bring” watch for stepping out. Generally I do not wear a watch since my phone tells the time.

    Can all agree that you wouldn’t want competitors to see every line item in your budgets? In the best case a company would use bizarre new set of code words making taxes even more complicated for the layman to misunderstand. How can we be sure that Mr Cobham doesn’t secretly work for Apple?

  32. We already know there’s been no ‘wrongdoing’. The statement was simply “it would be interesting to know how the agreement was reached”. Transparency has become a dirty word it would seem.

    It was Penis (and others on other threads) that are inferring the wrong thing from a simple raised eyebrow and then being personally insulting.

    Then there is the irony that most commenters on here would rather hang public officials, now suddenly they are the most upstanding of all people and must not be questioned.

    It’s bollocks, and not being able to recognise it is wilful ignorance. Pathetic.

  33. Jack C

    “The useful argument to have – and this applies also to the Great Bureaucracies we pay to sort this stuff out – is whether current rules are clear enough, or fair enough”

    Which has always been the damned point. It’s you lot getting all sensitive when questions are asked. As if corporation tax is your own personal fiefdom.

  34. Jack C,

    yes fwiw I’m not presuming guilt, just think (along with most other people very far el Murph such as http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/community/people/michael-devereux ) that corp tax of MNC is a mess and think a bit less opacity of how it’s working in practise would be helpful.

    although let’s not take the warblings of people lik devereaux seriously, they probably hasn’t read all relevant Google filings for the last decade

  35. @ Dennis the Peasant
    When you manage to read more three words in a session …
    Presently it seems that you cannot even remember what you have written, let alone anything that I have or Tim has.
    Your insolent bluster is an inadequate substitute for any competent reply or reasoned argument.

  36. @ Arnald
    There are many public officials in the UK. Some of them deserve to be put in the stocks, others do not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *