What's wrong with this headline: Starbucks pays £8.6m tax on £3bn sales? If you have no idea, you too might be the Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton:
Michael Meacher, the Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, who has campaigned against companies that use tax avoidance techniques, said: "HMRC should be having a look at this, especially since they keep saying there should be a crackdown. This has been going on for years and there are many companies involved.I realise that you may be too pig-ignorant to be able check the details, Mr. Meacher, but you will find that corporate taxes are levied on profit, not turnover. VAT is rated on sales, but most Starbucks products seem to be zero-rated so that's irrelevant (Update: Mr. Wadsworth points out that although the food products are zero-rated, most of them become VATable when catered, so Starbucks is indeed pouring VAT money into the Treasury). So, if by "getting away with it" you mean "comply fully with UK law and pay all due taxes" then yes, they do...
"The fact they have paid 0.3% tax on their turnover is utterly scandalous. If they didn't think they could get away with it, they wouldn't dare do it."
So Starbucks is fraudulently jiggling its accounts and is funnelling all the unpaid tax into the pockets of its executives? Apparently, "no", and "no":
There is no suggestion Starbucks has broken the law and the company's worldwide tax rate was 31% last year, compared with an average of 18.5% for multinationals. However, it paid an average of 13% on overseas income, one of the lowest rates in the consumer goods sector.So it's paying most of its tax where it's based. Fair enough.
There's also the not insignificant point, mysteriously omitted from the Guardian, that a hefty slice of that turnover will be going in employee wages (on which income tax, employer and employee NI are levied) and business rates. Which, for some reason, is not counted as "tax" by Mr. Meacher's reckoning.
It seems that my previous characterisation of Mr. Meacher as a mendacious git was spot on...