Eight speculations

I know, I know: bloggers should resist the urge to speculate about a company’s tax affairs unless they’ve really spent a good long time scouring company registries, reading court cases, talking to people in and outside the company, corresponding with tax directors. Doing their best to review everything that’s in the public domain, and as much of what isn’t as they can get their hands on.

I haven’t, it’s fair to say, done all this with Starbucks.**

But Starbucks sits so interestingly in the tax arena - as ‘bricks-and-mortar’ a retail operation as it’s possible to get, yet accused of all the same shenanigans with royalties and intangibles and offshoring of intra-group services as the ‘digital economy’ guys – that I just couldn’t resist the company’s announcement last month about moving its European HQ to the UK, a move Starbucks claims “will mean we pay more tax in the UK”.

Why does it matter?