Friday, May 3, 2013
New York Times DealBook: British Activists Press Tax Case Involving Goldman Sachs:
A court case in Britain involving Goldman Sachs is drawing public attention to the tax breaks that the British government has used to tried to lure corporations.
At a hearing on Thursday, an activist group called UK Uncut, which campaigns against tax avoidance programs, asked the court to review the circumstances leading up to a deal struck in 2010 between Goldman Sachs and British tax authorities. Under the deal, Goldman was allowed to avoid as much as £20 million, or $31 million, in interest on unpaid taxes.
The court case is adding pressure on large corporations that have attracted public anger for using tax avoidance programs to cut their tax bills, costing Britain much-needed revenue. A government report published at the end of 2011 concluded that British tax officials were treating big businesses too favorably with so-called sweetheart deals often struck at expensive restaurants or in secret.
The activist group has argued that the deal with Goldman was struck partly to avoid personal embarrassment to the finance ministry and a top tax official.