Saturday, November 14, 2015

Crickhowell goes offshore to stage a tax protest



From Friday's Independent:
Over the past few months, a handful of Crickhowell business owners visited Amsterdam and the Isle of Man, where some large companies base themselves for tax reasons. They have set up two offshore holding companies in preparation for the launch of the scheme, which is currently being scrutinised by HMRC, the video reveals. 
Their journey will be detailed in a forthcoming BBC documentary called The Town That Went Offshore. 
"Crickhowell has become the country’s first Fair Tax Town – a little piece of offshore in the heart of the Welsh countryside,” the video’s narrator says, adding that their campaign is based around the simple philosophy that “either we all pay tax, or none of us do".
There is more in the Financial Times:
Many tax experts say it is the traders’ own scheme that is unworkable. The most outspoken critic is Richard Murphy, a prominent campaigner against tax avoidance, who advised Jeremy Corbyn on his Labour leadership campaign. He compares it with "protesting about street crime by going out to do some street crime: irresponsible". 
Samantha Devos of Number Eighteen café says the criticism misses the point. Citing the example of Facebook, which paid less than £5,000 in corporate tax last year, she insists that spending cuts would not be needed if big companies paid their tax. The offshore project is about raising awareness, she says. "We are trying to create a level playing field."
It is somehow typical that Labour should find itself on the wrong side of the debate when small shopkeepers - call them Middle Wales - come over all radical.

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