If I run a coffee shop where I make a standard profit per cup, and I face competition from another shop across the street which makes the same profit per cup, then I would expect both of us to be paying the same tax per cup. If it turns out that the other shop is part of a multinational chain which only pays tax when it feels like it, then I am entitled to put that down to the incompetence of our tax collectors. This does matter because money not paid in tax is available for reinvestment in a more attractive shop, better coffee-making machinery, and more staff training, so a lighter tax burden for a competitor is blatantly unfair.
Here I must declare an interest. I have a spreadsheet system which was developed here in Carlisle to the extent of 100%, as a matter of fact, and this competes directly against online bookkeeping systems, some of which are foreign. I am happy with fair competition, but let’s see fair taxes as well. As an accountant, I presumably know how to divert any profits abroad. Well I won’t!
David Porthouse & Co is a firm of Carlisle accountants serving clients in the North West of England. We have an strong interest in new technology and we are introducing an optical number recognition/datepoint system for scanning bank statements with the aim of attacking the cost of accounts production. We also have an e-mailable spreadsheet system.