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Tax Dodging Poll Feedback

December 4th, 2012 by

38 Degrees members have consitently prioritised tackling tax dodging.  As a member-driven organisation, official 38 Degrees campaigns are only launched with the support of 38 Degrees members.

Recently over 45,000 of us responded to a poll specifically about taking up tax dodging as a major campaign, and here are the results of that poll:

Should campaigning to stop tax dodging be a major focus for 38 Degrees over the next few months?
Yes – 95.62%
No – 2.11%

Do you agree that although we may target individual tax dodgers on the way, our main aim should be to make the government fix our broken tax system so that it’s much harder to dodge tax?
Yes – 97.22%
No – 1.22%

Should 38 Degrees aim to get businesses who pay tax on board with the campaign?
Yes – 95.33%
No – 2.65% 

Which other demands would you like to see in the campaign?

Other suggestions of demands from members fell into several categories:

Change laws, close loopholes

Shame the dodgers

Publish a list of dodgers

Boycott google, amazon, starbucks

Simplify the tax system

Tackle the avoidance schemes

Example quotes from members are:

“I’d like to see a tax-dodging company blacklist published. The Government/HMRC need to change tax law to close tax loopholes.”

“Simplify the whole tax system to make it impossible/difficult to dodge tax.”

“A clear and graphic demonstration of the correlation between companies avoiding tax and our hospitals, schools and public services suffering as a result.”

“Raise awareness of the seriousness of big businesses versus cutting public services and personal  ’belt tightening’ – by TV campaigns  and  press coverage.”

 

How would you like to get involved?

There were lots of great comments from members which fell into the following categories:

Produce a Christmas guide

Social media vía Facebook, twitter and more

Window stickers in shops

Public Boycotts

Direct Action

Example quotes are:

“‘I pay my tax’ car/window stickers for businesses and individuals?”

“It would be great with an online version of the ‘Christmas shoppers’ guide to avoiding tax dodgers’ as these could go viral on Facebook/Twitter, etc..”

“I love the campaign by small shop owners “I pay enough tax to fund a nurse.”

“National media campaign to name and shame extremely rich tax dodgers. Publish the names of major companies who don’t tax in national newspapers, billboard signs, etc. ”

“Creative direct action towards tax dodging businesses.”

“Name & shame them in the news papers they use for their adds”

Further comments members added were as follows:

“I think you should target individual tax dodgers too, it’s crazy that I pay all my tax through PAYE but the rich can just avoid it as they can afford to.  That’s not fair!”

“I don’t want to sound or be hypercritical, but I think we all dislike paying tax. If there’s a way we can honestly pay less tax then there’s nothing wrong with that. However, what I am adversed to is large and wealthy companies who are setting the wrong example, and are able to pay their accountants big fees just to avoid tax. When the country is in financial need they shouldn’t be dodging this issue.”

“I don’t know much about corporation tax, but rather than tax profits, which businesses can manipulate easily, why not levy tax on the gross sales/turnover?”

“Tax foreign companies on ALL their turnover irrespective of where it is earned, as the USA does.”

“Tax avoidance is endemic amongst those people and organisations in power and there is little incentive for them to change.  Set up an off-shore haven to employ all the ordinary folk (contracting us out to our original jobs) and so avoid tax. Then see how fast the government moves to close the loop holes.”

The results of this poll will determine how we focus our efforts on tax dodging over the coming months.  What do you think? You can leave a comment to discuss with other members using the form below.

Posted in Tax dodging

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  • sam

    Interesting feedback. I’ve already made a start of buying my xmas presents from British stores/online retailers other than Amazon and Ebay. It was cheaper and just as efficient. I aim to buy British and local from now on. Had enough of these fat cats!

  • http://twitter.com/jo_blogs jo blogs

    I love the idea of a guide (not just for Christmas) to help people choose which businesses they patronise based on the tax they pay. I’d like to see it going beyond Christmas and the high street to utilities companies, service industry, financial, travel etc.

    Going even further, it would be amazing to create a league table for companies, by sector, of how ethical each company is (much like People & Planet’s excellent Green League for Universities) to inform shoppers. I realise this is highly ambitious but no harm in dreaming here! It can be a real minefield trying to work out which companies deserve our money.

  • DJF

    The poll certainly gives you a mandate to press on further. Unconsciously I didn’t go into amazon to buy something the other day and asked myself why afterwards, realised that I said, when first hearing all of these ways of using the loop holes in the system, that I would shop elsewhere. It has got to make a difference if a substantial number avoid them.

  • MPE

    Don’t forget the companies which use mail order via the Channel Islands to avoid paying VAT. How do you think the CDs and print cartridges come to be cheaper than those in the High Street?

  • Sue

    I have some concerns with this list. While I agree that Amazon and ebay should pay tax in the UK on UK earnings, it is not quite that simple. A lot of small UK businesses sell on Amazon Marketplace, and presumably pay UK taxes, including VAT. They would be hit by a boycott of Amazon. It can be quite hard to tell whether you are dealing directly with Amazon or a marketplace seller. A friend who is boycotting Amazon ordered a cd from HMV which was delivered from Guernsey.

    This is even more true of ebay. Sellers pay them a premium, but the people who would suffer most from a boycott are the small businesses which sell on ebay. The list is helpful, but I am afraid you still need to think.

  • Ken Brown

    Don’t overlook National Grid (30+ subsidiaries in tax havens), Scottish and Southern Energy (24% subsidiaries in tax havens), Centrica and other energy companies – especially now that so many millions of households are in fuel poverty or severe fuel poverty and energy companies are reaping gigantic profits.

  • Young lochinvar

    It is the law that needs changing. I don’t blame companies for resisting tax if they can legally avoid it. All the rich, not just companies, do it. Our politicians on the one hand cut HMRC staff and resist paying them high enough salaries to compete with the private sector and then on the other hand expect them to have the resources to challenge the finest tax avoidance schemes money can buy. It would be good if 38 Degrees had a campaign to force the government a. to produce effective laws to tackle the issue and b. to force all members of the cabinet to declare what overseas tax avoidance schemes they themselves benefit from.

  • MCMC

    We need to push for combined reporting with formula apportionment and unitary taxation! Helluva mouthful but it means it doesn’t matter where the money/office is – you charge tax on the scale of what they actually do in the country – sales, employees etc

  • http://www.facebook.com/luaphsan Paul Nash

    The UK has a 24% Corporation Tax rate that will fall in stages to 21% as compared to France and the USA with rates over 30% but even we do not compete with the 8.5% rate in Switzerland. Before anyone corrects me I know that on top of this there is a Cantonal rate which averages at 21% but of course for an average there must be ones (well) below 21% and there are still federal incentives. I run my own business, which has few capital requirements so I can do little to offset my profits so my corporation tax when compared to the ‘big boys’ is a much larger proportion of my turnover. If the system was fairer then small business like mine, which represent nearly 80% of all businesses, might not have to pay so much. We have to change the law so that multi-national companies are taxed on the business they do within the UK not the profit they make.

    Finally, ‘no news is bad news’! The danger with our name and shame campaign is that in time people will forget the reason for it but they will remember the names of the big 12 and tend to use their services and products more. And it will have cost the 12 nothing in marketing and promotions.

  • Beau

    Let’s not be too ‘holier than thou’……many people save in ISAs which are a tax avoidance scheme approved by the Government. To square this circle of outrage maybe they should be discontinued.

  • InItTogether

    Someone told me that professional footballers are paid extra income through their Image Rights accounts. They ‘lend’ the money to themselves then when they repay it they have to pay 2 (TWO) % tax. Surely they should pay 50% on all of their earnings. This loophole was introduced by Brown so is now 5 years of paying 48% tax less than they should be. And this is by multi-millionaires. If Carr was castigated for this why aren’t PL footballers? Carr was one yet PL footballers are 400 ish. Imagine the cost to the country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.osborne.129 Andy Osborne

    Please see today’s story in The Guardian
    Forget Starbucks – what UK companies are doing to avoid tax is far worse.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/feb/10/tax-loopholes-poorest-countries