LONDON Dec 2 Coffee chain Starbucks
said it was considering changes to its UK tax practices, which
allowed it to make billions in revenue while paying little in
income taxes, following criticism from lawmakers, tax
campaigners and the media.
A Reuters examination of Starbucks accounts published in
October showed the company had reported 13 years of losses at
its UK unit, even as it told investors the operation was
profitable and among the best performing of its overseas
The chain's UK unit paid no corporation tax - a tax on a
company's income - in the last three years for which figures are
available and has only paid 8.6 million pounds income tax since
1998, despite racking up 3 billion pounds ($4.8 billion) of
The revelations led to calls for a boycott of the store and
protests at its branches, and the company's Chief Financial
Officer Troy Alstead was called to give evidence to a
Starbucks repeated on Sunday that it had always complied
with British tax laws and blamed its low tax payments on a tough
operating environment in the UK.
However, a spokeswoman added in an emailed statement that
the public mood had caused the company to reconsider its tax
arrangements, which include intercompany royalty and interest
payments that reduce the UK unit's taxable profit.
"We have listened to feedback from our customers and
employees, and understand that to maintain and further build
public trust we need to do more," she said.
"As part of this we are looking at our tax approach in the
UK. The company has been in discussions with HMRC for some time
and is also in talks with The Treasury," she added.
The company, the largest coffee chain in the world, with a
market value of $39 billion, said it would release more details
later this week.
The Public Accounts Committee, which grilled Alstead and
managers from Google and Amazon over their tax planning, is due
to release its report on corporate taxation in the UK on Monday.