What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell us

Companies may have received ‘cosy deals’ on U.K. taxes

Stephen Beard Dec 20, 2011

Companies may have received ‘cosy deals’ on U.K. taxes

Stephen Beard Dec 20, 2011

Adriene Hill: Now the global perspective on business and economics. British lawmakers are accusing the U.K. taxman of giving major corporations an easy ride. It’s alleged the American investment bank Goldman Sachs was let off a tax bill worth $30 million.

From London, Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports.

Stephen Beard: The lawmakers attacked what they call “cosy deals” between tax officials and big business. They single out the chief U.K. tax collector for particular criticism. He was wined and dined by large corporations more than 100 times over the past two years. As a result, the lawmakers say, large companies — like Goldman Sachs — may have between them been let off billons dollars in tax.

Lawmaker Margaret Hodge says in a time of austerity — when public spending has been cut — this totally unacceptable:

Margaret Hodge: I think at a time when it’s hugely important that we maximise the revenue that comes in, it’s absolutely imperative that everybody is treated equally before the law, whoever they are, however big or small they are.

Goldman Sachs has refused to comment. But the U.K. tax authorities rejected the lawmakers’ findings. A spokesman said the idea that the Chief Tax Collector would cut a large tax bill in return for a glass of wine and a cheese sandwich is nonsense.

In London I’m Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.