When Giving is Really Taking

This is the season for giving and we have been reading recently how generous the founder of Facebook is being in saying that he and his wife will be giving away most of their fortune to charitable causes.

Excuse me! Are we meant to applaud the founder of a company that pays virtually nothing in tax – a mere £2.5m in Irish Corporation tax last year despite channelling half of its annual turnover of £3.5 billion through its Dublin operation?

So, in other words, what Facebook is doing, is depriving the jurisdictions in which profits are generated from taking any benefit from appropriate tax revenue. Yes, Facebook is doing no more or less than Apple or Google do, (and others), but that is no justification for tax schemes which operate to the detriment of the countries in which such companies trade.

The question is this – would you rather legitimately elected governments had charge of spending the money that should be being properly raised in tax by them, or are you happy that these ‘philanthrocapitalists’ accrue these vast fortunes (on the back of complex tax schemes) and then decide what to spend them on?

Personally I want less Taking by these companies, through tax manipulation, in order for them to appear virtuous in their Giving. I want these companies to Give properly through tax contributions and not Take more than is fair out of the countries in which they trade.

As alluded to in the title of this piece, Facebook is really Taking, not Giving.

Season’s Greetings,

Neil Thomas
December 2015

Published on Dec 21, 2015 by Neil Thomas