Tescos: distorting fair competition

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John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network had this letter in the Guardian this morning:

Tesco claims in its corporate responsibility statement that it uses its size and success to be "a force for good" in the communities where it operates. Its aggressive tax planning (Tesco's £1bn tax avoiding plan - move to the Cayman Islands, February 27) reveals the exact opposite. Tax avoidance harms communities by depriving them of the benefit of the wealth created by business. When Tesco talks about operating as "tax-efficiently as possible" it demonstrates a lack of corporate responsibility and commitment to the communities which sustain its profits.

Aggressive tax planning through offshore structures also provides the big supermarket groups with a financial advantage that is not available to their smaller competitors, further tilting the playing field away from fair and competitive markets. Public concern about the market dominance of major companies like Tesco needs urgently to take account of the astonishing subsidies they receive through their tax planning.

John Christensen
International secretariat director, Tax Justice Network