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Ebay and the Sunday Times – Corporation Tax – Let’s not start a witch hunt

Yesterday (21st October 2012) the Sunday Times ran a story detailing how little the auction website eBay, paid to the UK government in Corporation Tax.

Sadly, in this world of multinational companies providing on-line services, then companies will always try their very best to limit their tax liabilities. I’m sure if you took eBay as a global company and then looked into it’s finances, then I’m sure the overall tax liability would be the same as any other multinational. Whether it’s Shell, eBay, Amazon, Microsoft or Starbucks, corporate accountants will find the best way to reduce their tax liabilities.

Where we do take exception though is that eBay or Amazon should not be judged and simple stand-alone businesses. If there were to be  “Let’s boycott eBay” or “Let’s boycott Amazon” campaigns, then it would be the sole traders and the small to medium sized companies who use those platforms that would be damaged. When customers ‘buy’ from eBay or Amazon, they don’t, they buy from the individual trader, who in turn pays eBay or Amazon for the privilege of using their websites.

You can rest assured that the UK government is collecting the due taxes from all the individual traders, be it VAT, Income Tax or Corporation Tax.

If, on the back of an article in the Sunday Times, eBay was targeted, in the same way that other large corporate companies have been over the last few years, then spare a thought for the people just trying to make a living, those who have already been forced off the High St and need to use eBay as a route to market.

Sadly, if eBay or Amazon became targets of  ill conceived “Let’s boycott eBay” or “Let’s boycott Amazon” campaigns, then once again, the wrong parties will suffer.

If the taxation system is faulty, then fix the system. Don’t blame the companies, just because they’ve employed better accountants that the government.

Morally, we would all agree, everyone should automatically pay what is due. In the real-world, it might just be that if a large corporate can make tax savings, then perhaps there may be fewer redundancies.

Just a Thought !

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This entry was posted on October 22, 2012 by in AV News and tagged , .

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