Angry over the negligible corporate taxes that Starbucks and other corporations have paid to Britain despite huge revenues, a protest group is threatening to occupy Starbucks shops on Saturday.
As the US considers higher tax rates for the wealthy to deal with a budget crunch, a similar debate is going on across the pond. But in the UK, it's not the individually wealthy who are being eyed: It's those multinational corporations who, despite turning over hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue, routinely pay little to no tax on their local profits.
Protesters against corporate tax-dodging are set to occupy Starbucks coffee shops across the UK tomorrow, just days after the company and other multinationals like Google and Amazon were heavily criticized by an influential Parliamentary committee.
Starbucks has about 720 shops in the UK that last year generated sales of £400 million ($640 million). But in 2011 the company didn't pay a dime in UK corporate tax, despite saying in its 2011 annual report that "in particular, our Canada, Japan, UK, and China (business units) account for a significant portion of the net revenue and earnings of our international operations."
In fact, the company only paid corporate tax once in the past 15 years. though Starbucks argues the company paid £160 million ($256 million) over the last three years in other business and employee-related taxes.
Members of the direct action group UK Uncut said they plan to turn outlets into day cares and women’s shelters to highlight the company’s low tax bill, despite a company pledge yesterday to pay more.