Special Report: How Starbucks avoids UK taxes

Comments (21)
covertony wrote:

It is this kind of behaviour that leads to emerging countries looking at nationalisation. Starbucks is clearly exploiting the UK and other countries’ tax loopholes. Have they never heard of the “spirit of the law”. It is not just about what you can get away with. Disgraceful!

Oct 15, 2012 6:12am EDT  --  Report as abuse
matthewslyman wrote:

“On average, 84 percent of the Amsterdam unit’s annual revenue has gone on buying goods such as raw coffee beans, the electricity to roast them, and packaging.” — and yet…
“When asked how it burnt up all its revenue, Alstead pointed to staff costs and rent.” Right… “Staff costs” at director level? And rent for buildings owned by whom??? This is like digging up a buried network of cables, and never finding the end of it!

If only we all knew how much this sort of fraud costs us all, in decreased overall efficiency & competitiveness via misallocation of capital, distorted competition in employment and distorted spending-power with these ill-gotten gains; we would be out on the streets demanding our politicians do something about this immediately. We would be witch-hunting the politicians who are supporting cosy corporate deals with their pals and campaign donors.

Are these the sorts of deductions that Mitt Romney is talking about tackling? If so, then he might just fix the bleeding US economy and jump-start it before it dies.

I’ve never bought anything at “Starbucks”. I walked into one of their shops once, saw the prices and turned around straight away. After reading this, I don’t think I would pay them a cent if I was hungry and they were the only shop for miles…

Oct 15, 2012 7:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse

Next time I pass Starbucks I might pop in for a cup. When they ask me to pay for it I will say ‘Thanks… I already have*’

*through payment was handled through her Madge’s tax-collecting-but-not-in-your-case wholly owned subsidiary.

Oct 15, 2012 8:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ScroogeYou wrote:

Romney and the Guardians Of Profiteers regularly disparage the “entitled” poor yet the people whose “entitlements” do the most damage to our societies are the wealthy who feel entitled to more wealth for no reason other than the fact that they are already wealthy.
“Entitlements” for the wealthy do far more damage to our economies than any amount of food or health assistance.
Didn’t Bernie Madaff feel “entitled” to more wealth? Didn’t the people that ran Enron as well as those that ran MCI/WorldCom into the ground feel “entitled” to more wealth despite the cost to society as a whole?
Don’t forget, Romney represents the “entitled” elite!
End “ENTITLEMENTS” for the wealthy NOW!

Oct 15, 2012 8:52am EDT  --  Report as abuse

“… We don’t write this tax code; we are obligated to comply with it. And we do.”

The mantra of unrestrained capitalism.

Oct 15, 2012 9:04am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ScroogeYou wrote:

Good one DrFrankNFurter.

The mantra of the working classes needs to be “END ENTITLEMENTS FOR THE WEALTHY…NOW!”

Spread the word. Repeat it everywhere and maybe, just maybe, we can turn the dialogue around and direct attention to where the most damage is done. Every time a wealthy person or people steal or game the system then CALL ATTENTION TO IT. Call it what it is…”entitlements for the wealthy”.

Oct 15, 2012 9:14am EDT  --  Report as abuse
yrbmegr wrote:

“Experts say transfer prices are also a way for a company to minimize its tax bill.” Most of these practices are tax fraud.

Oct 15, 2012 9:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
DaudM wrote:

“We seek to be good taxpayers and to pay our fair share of taxes … We don’t write this tax code; we are obligated to comply with it. And we do.” I sure hope that everyone running corporations in the US don’t feel that their “fair share” is 0 when it comes to paying taxes. If so they really aren’t trying to be good corporate citizens, just greedy ones.

Oct 15, 2012 11:32am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Ludwig wrote:

Milo Minderbinder lives and breathes.

Oct 15, 2012 12:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
kiers wrote:

Notice how THE UK TAX authority ITSELF covers for Starbucks? THat’s the rub.

Oct 15, 2012 1:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AlkalineState wrote:

Simplify all this. Quarterly financial statements from corporations should also be tax forms. Stop allowing two sets of books.

Standardize the form and everybody reads the same form. ‘This is what we spent last quarter, this is what we earned.’ It’s not that complicated to get a handle on this. Any argument against this is a different variation of why companies should be allowed to lie to investors, hide losses, hype gains, etc. And how has that turned out for us so far?

You can’t have a strong free market if you do not have transparency on what investors and customers are buying. One combined reporting form (for taxes and investors) = better transparency.

Oct 15, 2012 1:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
matthewslyman wrote:

@AlkalineState: ++ definitely agree with your suggestions.

Oct 15, 2012 2:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ArghONaught wrote:

“Its not just what you can get away with” is the overstatement of the year. The GOP “tax” platform, if taken world-wide, would simply remove most of the taxes and provide carte blanche for most incomes excepting those who actually work for a living. This is not a problem, it is a bright shiny object, isn’t it?????

Oct 15, 2012 3:17pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Mott wrote:

Business relies on both investors and customers.

They have obligation to serve both these communities as a result.

However, they seem to care more for the investment community.

This investment community will pull-out in the absense of customers leaving the irresponsible businesses to dry-up.

And that is the lever that customers have, in holding these businesses that are reckless to support the customer communities in the form of evading taxes and similar, accountable.

The controls of customer lever have become ever easier in the interconnected times of today via coordinated blogging and other forms.

Oct 15, 2012 4:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AlkalineState wrote:

Time to nationalize pumpkin spice lattes!

Oct 15, 2012 6:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
WeWereWallSt wrote:

Oh, taxes shmaxes. Starbucks is so cool they shouldn’t have to pay taxes. Plus, they “created” all those high-prestige retail jobs, helping the economy more than you can imagine. Oh, what’s that you say? They also killed many retail jobs putting small operators out of work? Small price to pay for the universal privilege of having such a cooooool concept grace the land of fish and chips.

Howie might move to the UK soon. The people of Seattle hate him because he sold their Supersonics basketball team to somebody who moved it to Oklahoma. If he ends up in London, you’ll be cooler than you could ever imagine. Lucky bar stewards…

Oct 15, 2012 6:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Anthonykovic wrote:

This article shows, yet once again, how governments punish successful businesses with brutal taxes and ridiculous tax laws. In addition to being bled dry, others – like the media and “Citizens for Tax Justice” – demonize and insinuate Starbucks are actually thieves rather than successful businesses that generate wealth and employ hordes of peopl, the very same poeple who would otherwise be on the dole.

Oct 15, 2012 7:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Anthonykovic wrote:

Admit it: many people are lazy losers who resent anyone, or anything that is successful, even something as banal as a company that serves coffee. The poeple who contribute little to society take great pleasure at criticizing Starbucks and those who acutally do something useful.

Oct 15, 2012 7:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
americanguy wrote:

This story is a lot better than one that would say “How Mitt Romney avoids US taxes”. I am a lot more interested in Starbucks and taxes in the UK. Aren’t you?

Oct 16, 2012 7:22am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ALALAYIIIAAAA wrote:

WeWereWallSt @
i am also cool ,i am always in fashion clothes ,good looking,with many women in my arms ,with university degree on hand and also cfa qualified and everyone emulates me because i am ahead of the time.thats why i dont have to pay taxes respectively.

Oct 16, 2012 8:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Claremole wrote:

For those who are critical of Starbucks: How many of you have voluntarily paid more in tax than you legally owe?

Oct 20, 2012 11:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.