So, what do we want to know this afternoon in the Parlimanetary Accounts Committee hearing fro Google, Starbucks and Amazon.
There are slight variations for each, of course, but fundamentally, I think my questioning would be:
1) What do you actually do, where?
2) How is that different from the way you record what you do? So, for example, if you sell in the UK why do you record it in Ireland?
3) If you say you sell from Luxembourg where is the bill sent from, and why, and how is that consistent with the claim that you're selling from another country?
4) Why do you buy coffee through Switzerland?
5) Who decides what you stock (in the case of Amazon)?
6) If you're selling from Ireland (Google) why are the adverts on a UK specific search engine?
7) Why is there an Amazon.co.uk if its a Luxembourg entity?
8) Why are so many royalites paid through the Netherlands?
9) Where does all the income from your sales in Ireland, Switzerland and Luxembourg end up so that you pay such low taxes outside the USA? Is it Bermuda, or Cayman?
10) If the money goes to Bermuda how does that benefit your shareholders when they can never access it without more tax being paid than you have decalred in yuour accounts?
11) If the money yopu're making can't be accessed by your shareholders are you really acting in their best interests? Or are you acting in management's interests?
12) How much case have you got offshore right now?
13) How many years of your accounts are not agreed by HMRC?
14) What adjustments have HMRC demanded to your tax declaration and why?
15) When were those adjustments made and why?
16) If you had to pay tax here would you leave? If so, why? And where would you go?
17) If not, why aren't you paying?
That will do for now. It will be interesting to see how many are answered.