On the day that the Public Accounts Committee takes evidence on corporate tax deals, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is urging the government to make it harder for companies to utilise such outlets as a way of avoiding their full tax commitment.
It is demanding immediate action on three fronts:
A wholesale simplification of business tax to eliminate the loopholes that give rise to tax avoidance schemes
For HMRC enforcement activity to concentrate on aggressive tax avoidance, and not punish those who make unintended mistakes
A push for swift international action to stop a minority of companies shift profits across the globe in aggressive avoidance schemes.
Chamber chief executive Babs Murphy said: “The rules should be the same for everyone, from the smallest operation to large multinational companie.
“It is clearly unfair that some companies are using loopholes to avoid paying their due taxes while others are doing everything by the book.
“Something has to be done to prevent this situation from happening time and again.”
Multinational firms’ corporation tax payments have become an increasingly controversial subject.
Some global brands have capitalised on loopholes to pay only a fraction in tax on multi-million pound sales and revenue figures.
“All businesses with operations in Britain have an obligation to pay the full tax due on profits from their activities in this country,” said John Longworth, the BCC’s director general.
“There is great anger amongst many companies on this issue.”