Knocking on haven’s door

The G7’s agreement on taxation for multinational corporations may on the face of it look like the beginning of a crackdown on international companies who have for far too long ducked and dived, declaring their profits in countries with lower corporation tax rates.

But as historic as it may be that seven of them have agreed on anything, what has been decided between the US, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and Japan is nothing unless every government on the planet follows suit.

Because as long as a single tax haven exists, Facebook, Amazon, Google and whoever else can just open an office there (for example, Ireland where corporation tax is presently 12.5% rather than the G7 agreed minimum 15%) and save themselves millions – all completely legally, of course.

These business big boys are well versed in tax avoidance. I wouldn’t put it past them to try opening an office on Antarctica or even in orbit if it will save them a few percent in corporation tax.

Those few percentage points add up to hundreds of millions of pounds, dollars, Euros… any currency you care to mention.

These are the people who run the world, not governments. There will always be a government somewhere willing to appease them.

It has taken the financial drain of a worldwide pandemic to get countries even close to the idea of tax competition and with the Chinese economy still doing well (strange that, don’t you think? That the country where the coronavirus outbreak began – from a dodgy bat in a market which just happens coincidentally to be a stone’s throw from the Wuhan Institute for Virology – has not suffered anywhere near as much economically as other nations), what possible incitement would there be for them to follow suit?

The nations on board can make all sorts of sanction threats but in the end it will come down to how many of them want to engage in a trade war.

I await next month’s G20 summit with interest and a healthy dose of cynicism.

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Why is John Barrowman the latest target of this ridiculous cancel culture for a prank he was so well known for on the set of Torchwood that it was even mentioned in one of the BBC’s behind the scenes mini documentaries at the time?

I didn’t see anyone complaining then. In fact I remember it appeared to be a source of much mirth amongst fellow cast members.

There’s a famous outtake from the comedy Parks & Recreation in which Amy Poehler opens a door to find a stark bo****k naked Chris Pratt dancing in front of her. He hasn’t been forced to issue an apology and no one appears to be cancelling his Guardians Of The Galaxy or Jurassic Park contracts.

Because no one cared then and they still don’t now, that’s why.

Meanwhile, something cricketer Ollie Robinson said on Twitter in 2012 is suddenly news.

The time to do something about it was nine years ago. It was as unacceptable then as it is now and pulling it up after all these years is just an attempt to manipulate the agenda.

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I’m afraid I have no sympathy at all for people who couldn’t wait a second longer before jumping on a plane to Portugal now that the country has been upgraded from green to an amber risk for the coronavirus by the British government.

In the face of the new variant of COVID-19 the priority should be getting everyone fully vaccinated, not jetting off to cultivate melanomas in the Algarve, so to anyone who now has to isolate for a couple of weeks, it’s your own fault so shut up moaning!

Stupid TV quiz answer of the week:

Q: Maracas belong to which section of an orchestra?

A: Woodwind?

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Edward Case

Columnist