Friday, 7 December 2012

Starbucks: All Donations Gratefully Accepted

Starbucks' tax policies have led to "ill-feeling."
Like their drinks.
Following public outrage across Britain, Starbucks has graciously offered to pay a bit more UK tax. The American global coffee chain has been widely pilloried for its corporate tax avoidance policies.

Kris Engskov, managing director of Starbucks UK, announced the business would pay "a significant amount of tax during 2013 and 2014, regardless of whether the company is profitable."

Starbucks has suggested a £10m annual tax offering, as well as the dues it currently pays. Over the past 15 years that’s £8.5M on sales of £3 billion.

When I last looked into this sort of thing, tax payment to HMRC wasn’t a voluntary activity. Starbucks are simply proposing gifts of tax if and when it suits, as a charitable donation intended to repair brand value.

Engskov claims Starbucks UK is currently unprofitable, hard to believe given its relentless presence on the high street. If margin’s so hard to come by, why doesn’t the company simply shut up shop?

Starbucks’ mission statement is “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.” It’s an aspiration as nauseous as the slop they serve up.

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