Sunday, 19 May 2013

Oh no, not them too

Prepare to be shocked, only another previously thought to be purer than the driven, well established UK name has been outed. And the evidence is pretty damning...
Orders made through the new site by customers from France, Germany, Ireland or other countries are all shipped from M&S's UK warehouses – but the transactions are all made with, and charged to, Marks & Spencer (Ireland) Limited, a subsidiary located in the Republic of Ireland, which has the lowest corporation tax rates in Europe.

Marks & Spencer's UK branch is paid a wholesale price for the goods it ships by M&S Ireland, and this is subject to UK corporation tax, but then the rest of the retail markup is then subject instead to Ireland's much lower corporation tax rate of 12.5%.

This process of using internal billing between countries in order to ship goods from one country when doing business in another is referred to as "transfer pricing", and while perfectly legal is the practice highlighted by tax campaigners who object to Amazon. However, Marks & Spencer only uses this structure for sales outside of the UK: all sales in UK stores and online to UK addresses are processed through the UK and are subject to UK corporation tax.
Lock 'em all up and throw away the key, or failing that, at the very least, as one very angry G commenter points out:
That's it no more shopping at M&S, if all their customers took this stance it would make them pay their taxes like I do. 


The Stigler said...

So, less of my money goes to the state to burn, more on companies and their shareholders investing in more coolness? Right.

The Thought Gang said...

Amazon's practice isn't to do with transfer pricing. Their sales are (for tax purposes) nothing to do with the UK.. it's a Luxembourg operation with a UK warehousing/distribution base (which isn't relevant for tax).

I'm not saying that's right or proper, just that the writer doesn't actually seem to quite understand the issue.

Woodsy42 said...

And there we were wondering why large businesses all seemed to want to stay in the EU despite all the rules and regs and red tape.