October 16th, 2012

HuffPo’s Luxembourg Tax Dodge Bonanza Part II
Pays Lower Tax Rate Than Starbucks

The Huffington Post is attacking Starbucks’ tax dodging this morning with the claim that despite earning millions in the UK it pays only 1% in corporation tax. Another headline clearly demonstrating how Mehdi Hasan’s appointment has shifted Arianna Huffington’s website markedly to the left. That left-wing politics are subordinate to corporate profiteering is graphically illustrated by the fact that AOL pays even less UK corporation tax than Starbucks, less than 1%, a miniscule 0.15%:

The latest company accounts available show that in 2010 AOL UK Limited, HuffPo‘s owners, had a revenue of some £78 million. Their accountants certainly earned their fees ensuring that AOL paid just £122,000 in corporation tax. They cleverly and arguably somewhat aggressively pulled £30 million out of the reach of the UK tax authorities by “repatriating” a dividend payment to AOL UK’s sole shareholder – a tax avoidance special purpose vehicle (SPV) AOL Europe Sarl, registered in the tax haven of Luxembourg. Giving AOL/HuffPo an effective tax rate of less than 1% despite returning a massive 38% of revenue to shareholders.

Not only does Arianna not pay her UK bloggers, her company doesn’t pay UK taxes either. Guido applauds their ingenuity in legally avoiding taxes, however the hypocrisy reeks. Left leaning HuffPo campaigns against tax avoidance yet shelters nearly half its annual earnings offshore in Luxembourg. People in offshore glass houses shouldn’t throw large, tax-shaped stones…

See also: Introducing Tax Avoiding HuffPo Luxembourg


  1. 1
    Kebab Time says:

    Thats large scale hypocrisy, now we just Medhi to come out with a reasoned and well mannered statement ;)

  2. 2
    Nullbymouth says:

    Do cattle pay tax?

  3. 3
    What's more says:

    Steve Miliband says:
    October 16, 2012 at 11:09 am
    Balding slagged of the Daily Mail website. Remind me Clare, which newspaper serialised your recent autobiography?

    needs an edit

  4. 4
    a taxpayer says:

    Why the fuck do I bother paying any tax? There is no thing as society. Everyone for themselves and fuck the lot of them.

  5. 5
    David Cameron says:

    Ten minutes is a long time in politics

  6. 6
    Anonymous says:

    Nothing illegal here all international companies do it. It is down to Governments around the world to put in place laws that stop this nonsense.

  7. 7
    maggie the dog says:

    As long as he gets his pay check the rest of the world can burn

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Arianna Huffington, morphing into Leona Helmsley before our very eyes, says:

    Only the little people pay taxes, or didn’t you know?

  10. 10
    What's more says:

    ComRes/IPSA: “if MP salaries too high they’ll attract wrong sort of person” agree 60% disagree 28% http://ht.ly/euwh3

    Don’t blame the pay, it was ever thus.

  11. 11
    Kun Tea Bollox says:

    They’re all a bunch of bastards

  12. 12
    The Baron says:

    credit where it is due – the starbucks story was by reuters. i wonder how much tax the news agency has paid in britain since it was taken over by the thomson family from canada a few years back.

  13. 13
    Jan says:

    Breaking News… Gary McKinnon will not be extradited to the US…….

  14. 14
    jgm2 says:

    Getting caught shoplifting. Silly girl.

  15. 15
    Penfold says:

    Was Mehdi aware of the tax avoidance schemes in existence at HuffoPo/AOL before he joined?
    Bearing in mind his intellect, I suspect that this is an area where he is totally in the dark, absolutely ignorant in fact.
    His meanderings about avoidance will not go down well with Ariana and the corpoarte bigwigs at AOL.
    I foresee a new career path for Mehdi in the very near future.

  16. 16
    Guardian reading bedwetter says:

    Ban the Daily Mail!

  17. 17
    Penfold says:

    Parasitical bastards?

  18. 18
    jgm2 says:

    He’s been recruited by MI5 instead.

  19. 19
    Jimmy Savile says:

    i paid my taxes in full.

    What about Vodaphone’s tax arrangements with the Treasury?

  20. 20
    Supermax Bygraves says:

    Standby for a drone attack

  21. 21
    Moronwatch says:

    This little problem would be so easy to solve — if the political will were there :
    they should be taxed at (say) 3 – 5% of turnover in this country,without the option of negotiating a better deal with HMRC .
    The only fly in the ointment is that so many past and present politicians have been bought by the companies concerned that the will is sadly lacking!

  22. 22
    fruitcake says:

    How about invading Luxembourg?

  23. 23
    Grrr says:

    I blieve the BBC has largely implemented this policy.. which is why Rdio 4 is crammed to the ceilings with hipocritical socialists.

  24. 24
    jgm2 says:

    I don’t think we have a big enough army.

  25. 25
    Matthew Foster says:

    Rewriting a Reuters story from yesterday is hardly a lurch to the left

  26. 26
    I don't need no doctor says:

    Have the Millionairebands paid their tax in full?
    I suppose Starbucks have only avoided tax since the coalition came to power.

  27. 27
    I don't need no doctor says:

    Is that tax or attacks?

  28. 28
    Dr Nuts says:

    Ban News International as well.

    How about simplifying the law – if you earn in this country – pay this countries taxes! Simples!
    Even the morons of Alexander, Osbourne and Balls can do that – surely?

  29. 29
    Dr Nuts says:

    The definition of Society for the Conservatives is : PAYE and Spongers – you’re all in it upto your neck!

    Note the Conservative feeble excuse to avoid the mansion tax, it’s a tax on owning a home – almost like rates!! … and ‘everyone will own a £2m house’ … very telling!!

  30. 30
    Dr Nuts says:

    Oh no…
    Not another Nick ‘I’m a popstar me’ Clegg speech!!

  31. 31
    Darth Murdoch says:

    The reality is simple, due to the availability of legal tax avoidance techniques, that every company is partaking in, in order to stay competative, you must also do. The real issue is that such techniques are allowed to exist at all. The government must make such activities illegal and lock up those that continue.

  32. 32
    George Osbornagainchristian says:

    A dividend is a deduction for CT purposes?

    I must go back and rad the taxes Acts again…

  33. 33
    FREDDY STARR ate my SISTER says:

    Amazon do exactly the same ,
    American companies who sold the thick british banks all their toxic debt
    and now american companies show the thick bastard british , just how easy it is to bypass their crappy tax system

  34. 34
    keredybretsa says:

    That a company does its level best to avoid paying taxes is normal. But when criticism comes from people employed by such companies it’s like biting the hand that feeds them. Only real dumb doggies do that.

  35. 35
    Tom Catesby says:

    ‘They’re all in it together’

  36. 36
    Mao's little lad's little lad says:

    He can come and work for us.

  37. 37
    Luxembourg high command says:

    You couldn’t afford it, the taxes some people don’t pay.

  38. 38
    Tom Catesby says:

    If it’s not illegal that’s fine, a friend of mine qualified in business law and accountancy is thinking of setting up a firm to give similar avoidance advice to PAYE slaves. I bet Gideon and his like will slither into action then!

  39. 39
    Liberal left says:

    As darthmurdoch has already rightly pointed out you can’t really blame companies for minimizing their tax liabilities. The loopholes must be closed to stop the dodgy practices now. There is too much hand wringing by Cameron about aggressive tax avoidance ( which is still quite legal) and not enough action to prevent it. A tax on all income earned in the uk irrespective of where the parent company is registered would be a start

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