The Powys Tax Rebellion, as it has become known, began when independent traders decided they weren’t prepared to pay huge amounts of tax while the likes of Google and Starbucks avoided paying billions. They formed a consortium with its own tax plan – and want to encourage others to do the same.
This is where the scheme turns out to be doubly clever.
You see, for the past few years the Cameron government has been using coercive strategies to ‘nudge’ people into behaviour they would not otherwise display – pushing benefit claimants into carrying out all sorts of silly exercises for no very good reason is a prime example.
With this scheme, participants in the Powys Tax Rebellion are forcing the government to play its own game – ‘nudging’ David Cameron and George Osborne towards tax reforms that might – just might – make the system fairer for everybody.
They wouldn’t do it on their own; they wouldn’t do it under persuasion. Now they are being forced to face the possible loss of billions from small businesses who have had enough.
And it’s about time.
Vox Political is hoping to be able to signpost interested parties towards details of the scheme and information on how they can use it in the very near future. For now, here’s how The Independent reported on the rebellion:
When independent traders in a small Welsh town discovered the loopholes used by multinational giants to avoid paying UK tax, they didn’t just get mad.
Now local businesses in Crickhowell are turning the tables on the likes of Google and Starbucks by employing the same accountancy practices used by the world’s biggest companies, to move their entire town “offshore”.
Advised by experts and followed by a BBC crew, family-run shops in the Brecon Beacons town have submitted their own DIY tax plan to HMRC, copying the offshore arrangements used by global brands which pay little or no corporation tax.
The Powys tax rebellion, led by traders including the town’s salmon smokery, local coffee shop, book shop, optician and bakery, could spread nationwide.
Crickhowell residents want to share their tax avoidance plan with other towns, in a bid to force the Treasury into legislation to crack down on loopholes which allowed the likes of Amazon to pay just £11.9m of tax last year on £5.3bn of UK internet sales.
UPDATE November 11, 2015: Jo Carthew, of Black Mountains Smokery, one of the businesses involved in the Powys Tax Rebellion, said: “”As one of many family businesses based in the small town of Crickhowell, who rely heavily on visitors and tourism, we need to protect our independent high street from big brands.
“We believe in paying tax but firmly believe that big companies should pay their fair share too. The concept we have come up with will hopefully demonstrate that, in principle, small businesses working in coalition could become more tax efficient by mimicking strategies used by multinationals.
“We intend this to serve as a ‘threat’ to government rather than a ‘promise’ – an incentive to encourage them to close loopholes in the tax laws.”
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