MP for Great Grimsby, Austin Mitchell, will collect signatures from other MPs in support of his EDM, a form of Parliamentary petition.
The EDM claims:
"That this House urges the Government to clamp down on artificial tax avoidance schemes and end the domicile, residence and offshore tax avoidance loop-holes that enable millionaires and numerous companies trading in the UK to avoid UK taxes; and further urges the Government to introduce the General Anti-Avoidance Principle as a matter of priority so that transactions lacking normal commercial substance and solely entered into for the purpose of tax avoidance are ignored for tax purposes, thereby providing certainty, fairness and clarity, which the UK's taxation system requires to prevent abusive tax avoidance, to protect the interests of ordinary citizens who are committed to making their contribution to society, to avoid an unnecessary burden of tax of individual taxpayers and to ensure that companies pay fair taxes on profits generated in this country."
Mr Mitchell has tabled a second EDM 'Investigation of Tax Avoidance' urging the Government to investigate the activities of Alliance and Leicester, Allied Domecq, Amazon.com, Amersham, Arcadia, Barclays, BAE, BAT, BHS, BOC Group, Compass Group, Dixons, GlaxoSmithKline, Honda, IDEA, Kelda Group, Lloyds TSB, Merrill Lynch, NewsCorp, Nissan, Northern and Shell, Portland Enterprises, Prudential, Rolls Royce, Sage Group, Shell, Severn Trent, Shell, Tesco, Toyota, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Trains, Vodafone and WPP, all of whom, he claims, consistently pay considerably less than the 30 per cent rate of corporation tax.
He suggests that each company be required to publish a full explanation of why it pays tax at less than the standard rate of corporation tax, as well as listing the tax avoidance schemes used to this end and the sources from which they acquired the schemes.
The Professional Contractors Group (PCG) claims that Britain’s freelancers are welcoming Austin Mitchell's EDM regarding tax avoidance. The PCG said that a sensible debate on the subject of tax avoidance will be highly worthwhile and that it has 'long called for consistency, clarity and common sense in the tax system and fully agrees that companies should pay fair taxes on their profits.'
PCG chairman Simon Juden said: "While Mr Mitchell’s EDM seems to focus on big business, there is a small business dimension to this issue as well. Our members have had long and bitter experience of hastily implemented anti-avoidance measures. The IR35 legislation was aimed at artificial arrangements, but continues to catch many genuine businesses in its net.
"We’ve also seen how the current interpretation of the settlements legislation penalises thousands of family businesses who acted in good faith by adopting the corporate structure recommended by most accountants and the Government’s own advisory services. PCG members have consistently argued that rather than target honest small businesses, the Treasury could perhaps more usefully target well-known avoidance measures of larger firms.
"PCG would like to see a simple tax system which encourages small businesses and entrepreneurs while protecting the interests of ordinary citizens. Transactions entered into for reasons of tax advantage rather than commercial purposes should certainly not be allowed to pass unchallenged. We welcome any debate that leads to hard-working small businesses having their arrangements respected while tax loop-holes exploited by businesses both large and small will be closed."
Details of the EDMs and current signatories are here:
Control of Tax Avoidance - EDM 101
Investigation of Tax Avoidance - EDM 84
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