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Anorak | About those tax-dodging hypocrites at The Guardian

About those tax-dodging hypocrites at The Guardian

by | 28th, June 2013

tax protest the guardian

THE Guardian’s been lambasting any and every one who doesn’t pay the amount of tax that they think they should. But of course, we find there is hypocrisy there:

The events and magazines company Top Right Group ran up a corporation tax bill of just £200,000 despite making a pre-tax profit of £186.2m last year.

Top Right, owned by Guardian Media Group and Apax Partners, landed a huge one-off windfall of £166.1m after selling its motoring research arm, CAP. Its chief financial officer, Mandy Gradden, told The Independent the profits on the sale were “exempt from tax under the substantial shareholding exemption which is available to every company in the UK”.

What The Guardian did there is of course entirely legal. But as Margaret, Lady Hodge, keeps shouting it’s not whether it’s legal but whether it’s moral that counts these days.

And it’s certainly possible to argue that making use of that substantial shareholding exemption is entirely moral. After all, Gordon Brown brought it in for a specific purpose. You can’t be taxed on your profits from selling off a chunk of a business like this. But you also cannot get tax relief on any losses that you might make in selling off a chunk of a company like this.  And Brown really did bring in this rule and he really did bring it in for this reason.

So, it’s all directly inside both hte spirit and the letter of the law: Hurrah!

Except, except, we do find hypocrisy here. The Guardian led the charge that Barclay’s had only paid £100 million in corporation tax when it had made a profit of £11 billion or so. Outrageous, disgusting and so on.

But Barclay’s had made that vast profit by selling off a chunk of a company, a chunk subject to that substantial shareholding exemption. £7 or £8 billion it was, profits that were simply not subject to corporation tax (the rest of it was taxes paid elsewhere and tax losses from the crash to get the final bill down to £100 million to the UK Treasury).

When we do it it’s just fine, legal and moral. When someone else does the same thing it’s disgusting tax dodging. Yes, that is hypocrisy.



Posted: 28th, June 2013 | In: Money Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink