We all want to pay only as much tax as we are obliged to pay.
I was surprised by the headline 'Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been accused of promoting tax avoidance "on an industrial scale", in a report by MPs.' on this BBC article.
THAT'S THEIR JOB!
Even the smallest of businesses will have an accountant. One of the jobs of that accountant is to ensure the business does not have to pay any more tax than it is legally required to do. For small companies the effort and cost of setting up something in Luxembourg is not viable, but even so, the business will aim to pay only the tax that is has to, and the accountant will help ensure that is the case.
What really pisses me off here is the way people have a go at companies and accounting firms doing exactly what they are meant to do. Companies are expected (legally required, even) to act in the best interests of their shareholders.
Bear in mind, for many large companies, those shareholders may be your pension funds. If your pension fund invested in companies that did not act in the best interests of the shareholder, your pension would not perform as well as it could. So all this whinging about not paying a fair amount of tax potentially impacts ordinary people with a pension.
I challenge every one of those people complaining to contact HMRC and ask to pay more income tax this year - go on - ask for a "K" (negative) tax code as a gift to the government. No? Then why expect anyone else to pay more tax than the law says they have to.
Don't get me wrong - if someone is not actually obeying the law, then they should be punished accordingly, but if they are legally paying less tax, then that is what you should expect.
So, yes, it is unfair that some large companies manage to pay a lot less tax than one might fairly expect - so change the laws. But for a start, consider how much they really are paying in tax (there is a lot more than just corporation tax to consider).
Indeed, one fix would be to reduce or cap corporation tax. Stick to taxes that relate to actual business done in this country, such as VAT and all that income tax from employees.