The BBC has reported:
Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of global advertising group WPP, has said the amount of corporation tax companies pay is largely “a question of judgement”.
Sir Martin argued that companies like Google and Starbucks pay tax more out of a sense of corporate social responsibility, than because the law forces them to.
“Doing good is good business,” he said.
The first question is why there was no one there to challenge him on this opinion.
The more important question is why he can think this is the case, and by and large have evidence to support his opinion.
Could it be that it’s because, as the Public Accounts Committee said:
HMRC needs a far more determined approach to dealing with multinationals and their tax affairs.
Or could it be that the chair of HMRC is Ian Barlow, the former senior partner of KPMG in the UK. Yes, that’s the KPMG who were fined $455 million not so long ago for selling abusive tax schemes, giving the surest indication of corporate capture of the system possible.
Or might it be because the number of staff at HMRC will decline from 104,000 in 2005 to 61,000 in 2015?
Or is it even that whenever HMRC want advice on tax policy they turn to the FTSE 100 funded Oxford Centre for Business Taxation led by Prof Mike Devereux, the man who wrote in the FT recently that the best reform of corporation tax would be its abolition and whose work is at in no small part funded by a host of tax avoiding multinationals? No wonder the Oxford operation is more commonly known as the Oxford Centre for the Non-Taxation of Business.
Might any of these facts have anything to do with Sorrell’s opinion?
I think they just might.