Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, February 29, 2016

An alternative to dumping tea in a harbor?

A tea party-like movement in the UK?

Welsh Town Leads a British Revolt Against the Tax System and Corporations
Fifty small businesses line the cobbled streets of Crickhowell [in Wales]…

[T]here is Steven Lewis’s coffee shop, Number 18 Cafe & Brasserie, which, like a lot of the other mom-and-pop operations in Crickhowell, houses a grievance that resonates far beyond the town’s borders.

Mr. Lewis, 63, a broad-chested former military man, has helped turn Crickhowell into ground zero for a revolt by small-business owners in Britain against a tax system they see as rigged against them in favor of multinational corporations like Facebook, Google and Starbucks…

Stephen Lewis
Mr. Lewis said he paid the 21 percent corporate tax rate on his profits last year, equivalent to 31,000 pounds, or $45,200. By contrast, Facebook — which is based in the United States but does business in Britain and is therefore subject to British taxes — paid just £4,327, or $6,274, in corporate tax in 2014…

That is just one glaring example, Mr. Lewis and his fellow shopkeepers in Crickhowell said, of what amounts to multinational tax dodging on a gargantuan scale, leaving the little guy to pick up the tab…

Britain’s tax authority, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, said in a recent report that the amount of tax lost to Britain because of avoidance schemes was an estimated $4.3 billion in 2014…

the tax offenders are not just American. There is Caffè Nero, the London-based coffee chain that did not pay a penny of corporate tax in Britain for a decade. Cadbury, the British confectioner… has not paid taxes for the past five years, despite making about $144 million in profits each year…

Many shops in Crickhowell already have stickers pasted on their windows that declare themselves part of a “Fair Tax Town”…

Another of his aims is to have the tax authorities enforce a five-star system that would rate which companies have paid the appropriate taxes and make the results public…

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