Tescos: seeking to avoid their tax abuse

Posted on

If you search Google blogs for Tescos tax tonight you'll find this:

Tesco's tax scheme: It's not big and it's not clever

29 Feb 2008
Tesco's tax avoidance scheme dwarfs tax losses from income shifting, Simon Sweetman says "It's not big and it's not clever". Which of course is counter-intuitive, because Tesco is very big and very clever. But recent revelations show ...

AccountingWEB.co.uk Tax Zone - http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/tax

But if you follow the link you'll find this:

The page cannot be found - 404 error
Sorry, the page you are seeking may have been moved,removed, or is temporarily unavailable.

As usual, Simon had written a good story. And the problem is not that AccountingWEB is down; it is not. It says only one thing to me: I smell Tescos' lawyers at work. Polly Toynbee has suggested as such in the Guardian.

I find that amazing: the point the Guardian made is of massive significance. This is that three British organisations, Tescos, British Land and the British Airways pension scheme entered into a complex tax planning scheme using Cayman Islands structures, the reason for which could only have been tax saving. In the process they ensured that the economic reality of the transaction they were undertaking was not reflected in the tax treatment that they have in combination sought to apply to it.

There is no other explanation for the structure used. I can put it as bluntly as that. It was designed to save tax. Tescos was an intended beneficiary of that fact.

And now they are seeking to hide that fact by muzzling the press. Even though they claim all they did was legal and it was their duty to do it.

I think that is even more sickening than the original abuse.