More articles have appeared which question Tesco's methods for reducing their tax burden in the UK. Given that Tesco has issued writs for libel recently, I make no comment about the accuracy of the claims made in these reports nor do I link to them but I do want to comment on remarks allegdly made by a Tesco spokesperson.
Firstly, the spokesperson said, "The truth is that Tesco pays a disproportionately high amount of tax in the UK - around £1bn a year including corporation tax, business rates and employer's NIC."
Tesco is, I assume, referring to their total UK tax bill. I am surprised that Tesco mentioned this because their total tax bill has no relevance to the allegations being made. I am interested to know what Tesco believes a proportionate amount of tax would be and why.
Also stated is, "[The information put to Teso] is also riddled with inaccuracies and designed to portray as unethical what is in fact entirely legitimate and commonplace funding of international companies by successful global businesses based in Britain."
I don't doubt that Tesco's actions comply with the law but Tesco suggests that legitimate actions shouldn't or can't be portayed as unethical. That those legitimate actions are commonplace among successful global businesses doesn't make them ethical.
The law and ethics are not inextricably linked.