BAT: The next to head for Ireland?

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Another company that doesn't pay tax in the UK has announced its results. That's British American Tobacco.

In 2007 is had profit before tax of £3,078 million. The notional tax charge was £791 million. This was made up of £977 million UK tax, all of which was cancelled by foreign tax credits.

The overseas tax charge was £816 million, which was then reduced by a prior year adjustment of £51 million.

There was a deferred tax charge of £26 million.

Note by the way that the foreign tax charge of £977 million was cancelled by a foreign tax charge of £816 million. Now hear complaints about how unfair the UK tax system. They're bound to follow.

This is not a freak by the way. I estimate that between 2000 and 2007 BAT had notional UK tax charges of £4,452 million. All but £69 million of these charges were cancelled by foreign tax credits. The result is that most years BAT paid no tax in the UK.

Expect it to announce it's leaving for Ireland soon as a result. But don't mourn the tax they pay when they leave. We won't notice the loss.

And do ask, why is it that the UK tax system is so generous that companies that use the UK infrastructure to support their operations worldwide for years pay nothing for it, and complain when anyone asks them to do so?