Monday, 21 March 2011

They don't like it up 'em

Earlier in the year we learned Barclays UK corporation tax bill in its 2011 annual accounts was £113m or 2.4% of its annual profits (the corporation tax rate in the UK for businesses with a turnover greater than £1.5m p.a. is actually 28% for 2010-11). This followed on from all the reports about Vodafone that indicates Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenue tended to reach "pragmatic" agreements with major PLCs about how much corporation tax they should pay.

Since then there’s been all this gossip about how Barclays might relocate its headquarters elsewhere if the Vickers enquiry into banking recommended any major restructuring of British banks i.e. the banks are saying leave us the fuck alone or we’ll go and you’ll lose out on all the corporation tax gravy.

Except, as the Barclays examples makes very, VERY clear the gravy ain’t that much to the point where its perfectly reasonable to ask if its UK operations were simply the subsidiary of some Cayman Island based outfit would the corporation tax it pays (on profits earned here) actually fall that much? In fact, could they actually increase given Barclays already pays tax on profits earned overseas to overseas governments and there would be less incentive for the UK taxman to go easy on its ass given its no as if Barclays is going to shut down all its UK branches in a big hissy fit?

Ahhhh, but relocating a head office overseas would see all the income tax all they head office bods pay fucking off also wouldn't it? Except, given as much of that as possible is already off-shored so fucking what? Plus, any future crisis would presumably be the Cayman Island’s responsibility and not Britain’s i.e. any cost benefit analysis would need to take into account the fact that British taxpayers would no longer be providing what’s essentially a free insurance policy that means they (we) are on the hook for what could be hundreds of billions of pounds to bail these kind of institutions out the next time things go phut, which as every historical study of financial crises makes clear will happen in due course?

It’s funny when you think about it. With all sorts of encouragement from politicians and what not all these megacorp PLCs have worked on a heads I win, tails you go and can fuck yourself ya stupid wee cunt basis for so long when shit actually goes down they don't have a clue to the point where they're left flailing about like beached fish. There again the fact that the ex-CEO of Barclays is now its chief advisor on regulatory matters, following on from all the networking opportunities with the Treasury Project Merlin created, and bank lobbyists are nagging HM Treasury on a daily basis, suggests awkward questions aren't on the agenda and that yer average punter is getting set up to get blithely fucked rough into a cocked hat all over again.

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