I was hardly shocked by the revelation that Star Bucks avoid millions, if not billions of pounds of tax in the UK. No, I was already familiar with Star Bucks’ avoidance.
I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of my insightful pieces that started this story in the first place.
No, what is deeply shocking about this story is that they have told HMRC something different to what they have told the investors.
Let me be explicit here, because it is important and I know about these things because I am a tax expert.
By “they” I mean the tax technician who files the return and computations for the UK subsidiary and the person who spoke to the investors. These are probably exactly the same employee because tax staff always talk to investors, because normally they are the least stupid employees available and the least socially awkward.
At the very least, the person speaking to the investor would have spoken to the tax team before he said anything to somebody else.
And by something different I mean that this person, or two different persons maybe, has told the owners who pay their salary and decide whether to continue investment that the investment is good, and on the other hand filled accounts, tax returns and computations to HMRC.
It is always HMRC which get lied to because accountants tend to be sociopaths who will openly engage in deception for money. They love money so much. That is why they become accountants, so they can be near it.
Not so with HMRC, whose only desire is to collect the “correct amount of tax” and not one penny more. They are the dutiful officers of The State seeking to extract only as much money as a person has.
You can see the different personality types, the evil mentally retarded and ethically unsound private sector tax avoidance adviser, and the Courageous upholders of Right and The State.
It is as stark a contrast as that between Jimmy Savile and Nelson Mandela.