Welsh Town Takes on Multinational Company Tax Avoidance

If you can’t beat them, join them. Local businesses in Crickhowell plan to copy the multinational companies who avoid tax in protest.

The high street taking on the multinationals (Photographer: John Clift via Flickr)
The high street taking on the multinationals (Photographer: John Clift via Flickr)

An independent business consortium from a village in South Wales are planning to use the same tax avoidance loopholes that large multinational companies that exploit.

The Crickhowell-based organisation that was originally sparked by a BBC documentary is protesting at the disparity between the tax regulation laws for large international businesses and small independent companies.

Coffee shop owner Steve Lewis said: “I have no issues with paying corporation tax as a small business. My problem lies with the multinational companies who don’t pay what they owe, consequently not paying back into the economy that benefits them.

The BBC Documentary following their progress will be broadcast early in the new year but it has grown into a grassroots movement. They’ve created their own website, Fair Tax Town, where they have posted their long term strategic plan, which they plan to share with all small UK companies.

Steve Lewis states that the movement is about changing the issue of tax avoidance from a technical problem to a moral one: using large-scale media campaigns, boycotts and protests.

“Every time a loophole is closed, these multinational companies find another one to avoid paying what they owe. We want to force the government’s hand into changing this, by rallying all small businesses together to take on this unfair tax divide between local Welsh shops and international corporations.”


Can Pay, Won’t Pay: notorious tax avoiders

Something that users definitely won’t ‘like’: despite paying their staff over £35 million in bonuses, they only paid £4,327 in corporation tax

In 2013 total UK sales were estimated at £6.7 billion, yet they paid just £12.9 million corporation tax

Caffe Nero
The coffee chain has paid no tax since 2008, despite making profits of over £20 million in 2014.

Total sales by the online firm were £1.3 billion, yet they paid just £620,000 in corporation tax.