I agree that multinational companies that accrue large amounts of revenue in the UK should pay their fair share of tax.
Taxation is what underpins our shared prosperity. All of us, including businesses, benefit from a healthy, educated and skilled population, with access to basic services and secure housing.
I am concerned that the small tax contributions of some companies such as Amazon indicates the extent to which our corporate tax system has become divorced from the realities of our modern economy. Many multinational companies limit their tax liability by employing tactics such as transfer pricing and share awards. Large multinational technological companies are also increasingly shifting profits offshore to tax havens and countries with low-tax regimes.
It is deeply unfair that, while our high street stores struggle to remain competitive, corporations like Amazon get away with paying so little in tax. In Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath as well as across the country, we have all heard stories about small stores having to compete in the face of non-collection of huge amounts of tax from multinational companies such as Amazon and Facebook. Ultimately, it is small businesses that will have to pick up the tab and our local High Street and communities pay the price.
I would like to see HMRC given the resources and skills necessary to clamp down hard on those unscrupulous individuals and companies who seek to avoid the responsibilities that the rest of us meet.
At the 2017 general election, I stood on a manifesto which committed to close down tax loopholes and tackle the social scourge of tax avoidance through a Tax Transparency and Enforcement Programme. This would include reversing the cuts to HMRC and restoring staffing numbers with an additional £200 million of funding.
When in government Labour will demand that companies sign up to the Fair Tax Mark standards, demonstrating transparently that they pay their fair share of taxes.
I understand that the current Government is reportedly considering an ‘Amazon Tax’ for online platform businesses, based on value generated. I can assure you that I will follow closely any future developments in this area.
I can assure you that I remain committed to pressing for real action to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion, to ensure that those super-rich individuals and minority of giant corporations seeking to duck their responsibilities to society pay their fair share.