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

Introducing Tax Avoiding HuffPo Luxembourg

HuffPoUK have jumped on the tax status exposé bandwagon, lambasting those terrible internet companies for avoiding tax:

At least they have been gracious enough to admit AOL does not make it into the top five companies on the internet. Guido wonders though, would that by any chance be the same HuffPo UK that is owned by AOL Limited, whose parent company is the Luxembourg-registered AOL Europe Société à responsabilité limitée?

The HuffPoUK exposé makes clear the benefits of such an arrangement:

“Amazon, the UK’s most popular shopping site, generated £3.2 million in UK profits last year yet managed to pay zero corporation tax as its European headquarters are registered in the tax haven of Luxembourg.”

Loads of media organisations have similar set ups, though most would not be so stupid as to throw stones from inside Arianna’s glasshouse. There was no byline on the post –  it seems whoever wrote it is ashamed to put their name to the: Biggest Piece of Hypocrisy Ever Seen on the Internet.™

UPDATE:

Labour Row Back on Millionaire Spin

Interesting that Labour attack dog Michael Dugher is rowing back on Millionaire Miliband’s tax spin this afternoon. Dugher is refusing to repeat the absurd idea that Cameron has written himself a £40,000 cheque, now nuancing the argument by noting that only 8,000 millionaires will benefit. Might be something to do with Dave slaughtering Ed on tax during his speech:

“Did you hear what Ed Miliband said last week about taxes? He described a tax cut as the government writing people a cheque. Ed…Let me explain to you how it works. When people earn money, it’s their money. Not the government’s money: their money. Then, the government takes some of it away in tax. So, if we cut taxes, we’re not giving them money – we’re taking less of it away. OK?”

An important distinction…

Farron Struggles to Defend LibDem Tax Avoidance Scheme

24 hours after Danny Alexander warned tax avoiders “we are coming to get you”, LibDem President Tim Farron has unveiled the party’s new tax avoidance legacy scheme. Rich delegates were plied with red wine and chocolate gateaux in the Grand Hotel’s Empress suite as Farron and his team explained how wealthy donors could reduce their inheritance tax bills.

Following in the tax avoiding footsteps of Labour and the Tories, rich donors were told how “a gift in your will to the LibDems will be tax efficient as gifts to a recognised political party are deducted from your estate before inheritance tax is calculated“. Guido asked an uncomfortable Farron what he thought about his party encouraging members to avoid tax, but the party president attempted to shift the blame by holding his hands up and insisting “I didn’t put it together”. It was later emphasised to Guido that the scheme was “within the law”. It seems Danny Alexander’s promise does not extends to the after life…

Hollande’s Taxodus: Dave’s Red Carpet Already Well Worn

Fresh from the humiliation of his premature gold medal boasting at the Olympics, President Hollande is facing the much predicted taxodus from Paris to London.

This morning’s City AM reported:

“London-based recruitment firm Astbury Marsden, which specialises in the banking sector, has seen a 51 per cent rise in French-language applicants in recent months, compared with the same period of 2011.“There is a definite spike in French-speaking candidates,” said managing director Jonathan Nicholson. We have not seen similar increases in candidates from other countries.”

When Hollande vowed to steal 75% of his hard-working countrymen’s income earlier this year Dave promised to roll out the red carpet. Now they’re saying au revoir to François…

Labour Wonks v Page 3 Girls

Labour wonk-shop IPPR have declared war on the Sun‘s Page 3 girls as they publish a report claiming that the government’s bleeding of motorists via high fuel taxes is just a “myth“. Earlier this week the Sun girls jumped on board the Taxpayers’ Alliance campaign to freeze fuel duty by showing their support at petrol stations up and down the country. Now IPPR has hit back, laughably arguing that the Chancellor “should make every effort to avoid further delays in fuel duty increases“. Will’s argument is unconvincing and not likely to be taken up by the Labour Party. “Vote Labour for higher petrol taxes” is a CCHQ dream slogan…

More Magic Money Tree Madness

Richard Murphy is a left-wing economist, accountant and blogger who has advised Brendan Barber’s TUC and Mark Serwotka’s PCS and written regularly for the Guardian. Twitter users will know that he maintains a close relationship with several tweeting Labour MPs. This morning Murphy put his foot in it by betraying the loony left’s true thoughts on the public debt:

When will the flat-earthers learn…

Britain Sends Aid to Mars

The Indian government has today announced plans to launch a mission to Mars next year. The $82 million project, funded in part by the British taxpayers’ money meant for starving children, will see an unmanned spacecraft set off for the Red Planet in November 2013.

The least they could do is plant a Union Jack…

Unions Help Teachers Pay Less Tax

Guido would like to express solidarity with £142,000 per year union fat cat Christine Blower, who has found an innovative new way to reduce her members’ tax bills. For all her moralistic demands that people “play fair on tax[…]

LibDems Offer Tax Avoidance Legacy Scheme

Back in July Guido revealed how both the Tories and Labour were advising their donors how to avoid tax through controversial inheritance schemes. Now it appears the LibDems have followed suit. Right at the beginning of this year’s conference guide […]

Tax Dodge Investigators Funded By Labour Non-Dom

The Inspector Clouseau hacks over at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism have prided themselves in exposing tax avoidance over the last few months. In March they worked with Private Eye to reveal Vodafone had used Swiss bank accounts to exploit […]

That HMRC Stasi Document in Full

Guido had to check he hadn’t woken up in some Stalinist dystopia when he read that HMRC have been telling school children to tell their teacher if they suspect that their neighbours have been dodging tax. Lesson plans suggested by […]



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