Sunday, 10 March 2013

Corporate Tax Avoidance


I put a speaker's card in for Stephen Williams MP's Corporate Tax Avoidance motion today (page 44) but didn't get called. But this is what I would have said...


Conference,

Taxation is a vast and complex area but it is also one in which it is easy to be populist and to create scapegoats. Where perceived injustices are used to draw dividing lines between us and "them" as movements such as Occupy do.

When determining taxation policy we need to be clear about our aims, objectives and targets.

We should be seeking a taxation code that is fair and reasonable. Where individuals and companies can contribute to society but not be penalised for success.

Conference, it's easy to be populist - and it's easy to attack large earners. But we should resist doing this without a broader strategy for taxation policy: we should speak out against inequalities in our tax system but we should resist the damaging rhetoric of Occupy and others on the left.

We're not - or shouldn't be - out to get the 1%. We're not "for" the 99%. We're for - or should be for- the 100%. Where everyone but the poorest contributes, the richest contribute more, and where everyone benefits from an effective tax code.

And when it comes to Corporate taxation, we should likewise exercise care in our language and motivations. It is easy to attack multinationals but we shouldn't attack big successful companies just for being big and successful. We should attack them when and where they transgress - and we should recognise and seek change where our taxation system is no longer fit for purpose.

But Occupy have one thing right: this is a global issue.

This motion seeks to address the global nature of modern business. To work towards a world where profits are taxed where profits are made - where a latte made in Basildon isn't taxed in Basle.

A world where contrived and artificial corporate structures designed to reduce tax rates are called out for what they are.

It seeks a transparent world, a world where corporate tax receipts will benefit the employees who generated the company's profits - wherever they are.

It's a motion which seeks tax justice - addressing a culture of tax avoidance in less developed areas of the world. That seeks to shine a light on the movement of profit not just out of the UK, but also out of the developing world and to extend the principles we have historically applied in the west so that others can develop more robust regimes and generate revenue.

It's ostensibly about tax avoidance but ultimate it's about moving towards tax fairness internationally.

Conference, please support the motion.

(Note: the motion was carried unammended)

Andrew

3 comments:

Stephen Glenn said...

That would have been good to hear from the podium. One day you will get to make a speech from up there.

Andrew Brown said...

Thanks Stephen!

Maybe In Glasgow! Am sure there will be things I'll want to put speakers cards in for there!

Andrew

rashedkhanbd11 said...

The term avoidance has also been used in the tax regulations of some jurisdictions to distinguish tax avoidance foreseen by the legislators from tax avoidance which exploits loopholes in the law such as like-kind exchanges.
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