Tax avoidance/havens

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Conference roundly condemns the greed and baseless self-interest of wealthy individuals and business corporations who seek out every possible means, both legal and illegal, to avoid or evade the payment of taxes, as exposed time and time again (The Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers etc).

Failure to tax the rich means the burden of taxation increasing falls on working class people who now pay a higher proportion of their income on taxes including indirect taxes such as VAT, excise duties etc, than do millionaires. Cuts in taxation for the rich (reduction of top rate of tax to 40% and massive cut on Corporation Tax scheduled to fall to 17% by 2020) have been implemented side by side with austerity spending cuts on our schools, the NHS and house building and other essential public spending.

Conference notes with interest moves by the European Union to clamp down on aggressive tax avoidance by multinational corporations, notable with new rules on a Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCTB) to make corporation tax payable in the country where profits are made and prevent businesses switching profits to countries with lower corporate tax rates. New EU rules will also ban the use of a designated list of tax havens by companies operating in the EU. Not surprisingly Tory MEPs voted against all these measures!

Taking on the corporate tax avoiders can only be successful if countries act together in a similar way to the EU; otherwise nations are pressured into a race to the bottom offering more and more tax “incentives” to attract big business to their shores. UNITE therefore calls on a future Labour Government to cooperate with the EU where possible on its tax avoidance strategy, as well as

• Restore the spending cuts to Inland Revenue so that it has the resources to collect tax revenues from big business and wealthy individuals
• Eliminate tax “loopholes” and make illegal other accounting devices that allow companies to escape paying taxes that are due
• Reverse the Tory cuts in Corporation Tax to the 28% level they were at when Labour left office in 2010
• Outlaw the use of tax havens by any company trading in the UK and take steps to close down British Commonwealth tax havens
• Restore a genuinely fair, progressive income tax system that taxes on the ability to pay and develop a redistributive wealth tax system