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Thread: Demonstrators are staging a protest at Topshop in central London over Sir Philip Green's tax affairs

  1. #1

    Default Demonstrators are staging a protest at Topshop in central London over Sir Philip Green's tax affairs

    Demonstrators are staging a protest at Topshop in central London over Sir Philip Green's tax affairs. They claim he avoided paying hundreds of millions of pounds, writes Siobhan Kennedy.
    A group of protesters are attempting to shine an embarrassing spotlight on the tax affairs of the retail magnate, and government advisor, Sir Philip Green by staging a "sit-in" at his flagship Topshop store in central London.
    One of the demonstrators has told Channel 4 News, via Twitter, that he has been "forcibly thrown out" of the store for trying to take photographs.

    The group alleges that Sir Philip deliberately tried to avoid paying hundreds of millions of pounds of UK tax by channelling £1.2 billion worth of funds from his Arcadia retail empire into an offshore vehicle registered to his wife in Monaco.
    Our website empowers people to make contact with others and organise autonomously in their own towns and cities. UK Uncut
    The group, UK Uncut, was formed by a band of grassroots activists to protest against the government's spending cuts. They argue that slashing public spending so severely isn't necessary. Instead, they say the Chancellor George Osborne and his men should go after easier targets, like Sir Philip and other wealthy businessmen, who between them avoid paying billions of pounds worth of UK tax.

    "Philip Green is a well-known tax avoider and today we're bringing our campaign right to the heart of his empire", James Kelly, a spokesman for UK Uncut told Channel 4 News.
    Who Knows Who: Sir Philip Green - the ego in Arcadia




    (Pictured: Guardian columnist and campaigner Polly Toynbee at the demo with blogger PennyRed)
    UK Uncut does not have any premises or headquarters. It carries out most of its campaigning via Twitter and Facebook and from its website, ukuncut.org.uk.

    But in recent months the group has grown in notoriety and now has over 4,000 followers on Twitter. It added 600 of those in a single day - Friday 3 Dec - after a call-to-protest was issued in an article on the Guardian online, according to Mr Kelly.

    The article said: "We launch this second phase of our campaign as part of a movement unrecognisable from just a month ago. Our website empowers people to make contact with others and organise autonomously in their own towns and cities. In this way, a nationally co-ordinated social media campaign can build powerful, local anti-cuts networks on the streets."

    "When the government is rushing the deepest cuts since the 1920s through the Commons, it is essential that we can react spontaneously, flexibly and effectively."




    The anger over Sir Philip's tax affairs is not new. The retail tycoon, whose empire spans department store BHS to Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, did pay a £1.2 billion dividend to his wife, Tina, in 2005 via a complex tax vehicle which effectively makes her the owner of his Arcadia chain.
    Because she lives in Monaco, a tax haven, she was able to receive the dividend tax-free. Tax avoidance is legal, but given his prominence in the UK high street, the payment was seen as very controversial. It has since become even more so after Sir Philip was named as a special advisor to the Government on austerity and spending cuts.
    I do think there's a problem. Large businesses are paying a smaller proportion of their income in tax than many individuals and small businesses in the UK and that's unacceptable. Richard Murphy
    That rankled with many, especially given the multi-millionaires opulent lifestyle of yachts and extravagant parties.

    Richard Murphy, director of Tax Research UK, said he thought that UK Uncut's actions were justified.

    "I do think that what they're doing is appropriate," he told Channel 4 News. "I do think there's a problem. Large businesses are paying a smaller proportion of their income in tax than many individuals and small businesses in the UK and that's unacceptable".

    Mr Kelly said as many as several hundred people were planning to protest at Topshop on Oxford Street in London while 20 other groups plan actions up and down the country.
    The group held similar protests against Vodafone after the telecoms group settled a large tax avoidance claim with the government but ended up paying a lot less than had been expected.
    http://www.channel4.com/news/topshop...p-greens-taxes
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  2. #2

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    Richard Murphy was the independent accountant who exposed all the lies and anomalies in Northern Rock's books.

    Meanwhile:

    The group alleges that Sir Philip deliberately tried to avoid paying hundreds of millions of pounds of UK tax by channelling £1.2 billion worth of funds from his Arcadia retail empire into an offshore vehicle registered to his wife in Monaco.
    See here:

    Itís true Green associates (and we can put it no better than that) received a dividend of about £1.14 billion. But a closer look at their accounts might suggest that this was not a pay day, more a financial architecture day. The reason is simple. A dividend is paid out of accumulated profits. But at the end of August 2004 (its year end date) the Arcadia Group had £291 million on its P & L account. In the year to August 2005, when the dividend was paid it earned after tax profit of £185 million (all data from Arcadia Group results announcement, by the way). That gives a maximum apparent positive balance of £476 million, out of which a dividend totalling £1,299 million in all was paid.

    The result was obvious. At 27 August 2005 the profit and loss account had a deficit of £820 million on it and the overall accounts showed a deficit of £807 million. Borrowings grew by over £900 million in a year, which seems to have been used almost entirely to finance the dividend. The Arcadia Group parent company, Taveta Investments Limited showed a broadly similar consolidated position.

    Now, Iím not for one minute suggesting wrong doing here. But my reading of the Companies Acts says dividends can only be paid out of accumulated realised profits, and my practical interpretation of this has always been that if a dividend leaves the profit and loss account overdrawn you do, at least in theory, have a problem to deal with.

    No doubt PWC (who did not mention the issue in their audit of Taveta) found good reason why this was not an issue, and Iím sure advice was taken from learned friends, so all is fine. But given that the Greens did not pay tax on this deal it looks rather more like a bit of sophisticated financial engineering to me than the UKís biggest corporate pay day.

    Oh, and as usual there is a Jersey dimension to this story. Taveta Investments Limited in the UK is owned by a company of the same name in Jersey (just to confuse things) and it is owned by two nominee companies that appear to own each other. Which makes things as clear as mud when it comes to working out whatís going on.
    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2...tax-avoidance/
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    And then there's Blade....

    '90s Actor Wesley Snipes Off to Slammer


    Actor to Serve 3-Year Sentence for Tax Evasion


    Actor Wesley Snipes has been taken into custody by federal authorities, according to TMZ, to begin serving a three-year prison term.
    http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/...ry?id=12199715
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