The Mail has launched a campaign for the reform of UK corporation tax. That's about a decade late, but everyone is welcome to the party. They quote me in the launch article:
Richard Murphy, at Tax Research UK, believes the UK has such a 'lax' approach to tax that it is 'basically an honesty-box regime'. Murphy said: 'There is obviously a problem with these large corporations.'
He claimed many 'pure tech' firms are 'under-declaring' profit, while others appear not to be paying VAT. Some use intercompany payments to reduce tax liabilities or else pay debt interest to reduce or wipe out UK profits. The transfers are almost always done through tax havens. Murphy added: 'We operate as a corporate tax haven and we don't regulate companies in any effective way. Whether companies pay tax is basically a matter of choice.'
I should stress, when talking to the Mail my suggestion was made in the context of the complete failure of Companies House to properly regulate companies, as evidenced by the fact that some 400,000 a year are struck off from the Register without any proper enquiries being made by anybody, including HM Revenue and Customs. It is this neglect, which I think is deliberate, that makes the UK corporate tax haven. After all, we now know that secrecy is key to any tax haven regime, and by simply failing to ask questions about companies who choose not to disclose their affairs the UK is creating a system that exactly replicates that available in the most abusive tax havens.