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How big name companies avoid tax and what we can do

By River Reporter Dec 6, 2012

Eve Carson

When we splurge at Christmas, many of us don’t care where our cash goes.

But when giant corporations dodge the tax man, should we look elsewhere for gifts for our nearest and dearest?

Like any business, retailers such as Amazon, eBay, Apple and Starbucks are interested in making money. 

Yet these companies are making major profits not only through sales, but also through tax avoidance too

Will you be giving your pennies to these big money-pinching machines in exchange for saving a couple of quid or will you shop in stores that play fair?

To help you decide, here are a few alternative places you can shop this Christmas:

o   For CDs and records try Banquet Records in Kingston. They stock a wide selection of music and specialise in new and cutting edge artists.

o   If you are after the latest smartphone technology then pop into an O2 store this season. 

By shopping in store rather than online you can often test out the product first. No charges for postage and packaging and no need for returns.

o   Space.NK, Lush and L’Occitane are perfect for gorgeous smelling bath, hair and make-up essentials for stocking fillers. 

o   For handmade goods try Kingston’s German Christmas Market, it is bound to have you feeling festive with plenty of gift ideas. 

o   If you are short for cash this Christmas, why not try the charity shops? It’s cheaper, fun and helpful. You would be surprised at the treasures you could find.

o   Charity shop Fara, located on Castle Street in Kingston, is a great place for accessories and clothing. If you are after a decent book try Oxfam just across the street.

Central London also offers an incredibly wide choice. 

Cancer Research UK in Marylebone is great for vintage items and designer bargains, or why not pop into The Salvation Army off Oxford Street for high-street seconds.

o   London’s Portobello Market is amazing for vintage coats and handbags, as well as amazing original art to add to your decor. 

o   Spitalfields in East London is ideal for leather goods and unique hand designed jewellery. 

Why not give your support to some smaller independent stores this year?


Tax avoidance: how companies do it.

Tax avoidance is a legal means of reducing the amount of tax a company or person pays.

  • Companies often do this by channelling sales through another country where the tax rate is lower.
  • By steering sales through a holding company in tax haven countries such as Luxembourg or Switzerland.
  • Instead the company pays tax to the country in which the headquarters is based where the corporation tax is much lower.
  • This substantially impacts on the economy and according to HMRC the tax gap from avoidance for the UK is several billion.

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