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Barclays £119m tax bill inflames protesters

21st Feb 2011
Editor in Chief (interim) AccountingWEB
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Protesters from UK Uncut targeted nearly 50 branches of Barclays Bank on Saturday in a “bail-in” action to protest at the bank’s tax and bonus policies.

Without closing the branches, activists took up residence in the banks for the morning and turned them into creches, meeting places, and in the case of the Tottenham Court Road branch in London, a venue that featured an appearance by comedian Josie Long.

On the morning of the action, The Guardian published figures showing that Barclays paid £113m in UK Corporation Tax on its 2009 profits of £11.6bn.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna released the figure from a follow-up letter sent by Barclay’s chief executive Bob Diamond after his recent appearance before the House of Commons Treasury select committee.

Diamond had told the committee that Barclays paid £2bn UK taxes in 2009, but the detailed letter revealed that around 80% of that figure was made up from employees’ payroll tax contributions. Average pay in the bank's investment arm has increased by 23% in the past year, and Diamond himself - famous for claiming "the time for contrition is over" - is rumoured to have earned a bonus of £9m.

Tax Justice blogger Richard Murphy estimated that Barclays’ total tax bill for the year (ignoring deferred tax) was roughtly £1.3bn, of £200m related to the sale of Barclays Global Investors.

A note in its accounts indicated that 78% of its profits came from Barclays Capital, Murphy noted, which he suggested was mainly located in London and New York. Yet less than 10% of Barclays’ corporate tax bill was paid in the UK.

Barclays was able to transfer revenues generated in the UK to lower tax jurisdictions. In his letter to the Labour MP, the Barclays CEO confirmed the bank had 30 subsidiary companies in the Isle of Man, 38 in Jersey and 181 in the Cayman Islands. Howevr he added that the bank was running down some of its subsidiaries in Crown dependencies.

However Barclays was also able to lessen its UK tax bill by claiming back losses from the previous year, Murphy said.

In a separate post, he quoted an estimate from the TUC Corporate Tax Gap report that UK banks would be able to offset around £19bn from their losses during the financial crisis.

The government could easily retrieve this sum, he argued, by introducing legislation to blocks banks carrying forward these losses. “It’s a one line new piece of law that is needed,” he wrote.

While chancellor George Osborne floated this idea while in opposition, The Guardian reported on Saturday that he now favoured continuing with the bank levy first introduced by Labour in 2009.


Replies (12)

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By pawncob
21st Feb 2011 12:33


UK Uncut is really just the SWP and the LGA in a joint venture. It's not really about Barclays, is it?

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By philfromleeds
21st Feb 2011 13:44

Bank Bonus's

I wish I could have got a good job with a bank. I would take a bonus. I think we are all jealous. But lets face it, the government should earn more in Tax if Barclay's pays out Bonus's. But this might be thwarted by the non resident rules if they are from abroad say America.

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By Stephen Morris
21st Feb 2011 16:36

Mega Bonuses

Heard Vince Cable say that there are measure in the pipeline to make banks more competitive. The increased competition, says Cable, should whittle away the banks' super profits from which the mega bonuses are paid. The mega bonuses should thereafter stop, says Cable.

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By Donald2000
21st Feb 2011 17:27

Barclays taxation yield - Corporation Tax

I think there are one or two issues here which should be tackled. The first is that Barclays global income (of which about 80% is generated in this country) has been funnelled through a series of shell companies to end up in the Cayman Islands to make it look as if the income has been generated in this non-taxation holiday island, although how the economy of that little place could generated £6 BN in bank profits is just that bit beyond me.

There has been little, if any, impetus on the part of the HMRC to do anything about this and therefore this Ponzi tax avoidance scheme has cleared possibly billions of GBP out of our coffers and into Barclays own coffers. Whatever anyone says, I offer the prognosis that this is actually bordering on tax evasion. Whomsoever is advising Barclays to do this is treading a very thin line.

The second point is that their losses have been guaranteed by the British government, so therefore, if their losses have been guaranteed, possibly someone could tell me how they have the temerity to claim CT relief on it? If you dont take the guarantees and you therefore dont mitigate the losses, I dont see how you can claim on HMRC for it, on the contributory negligence principle.

So theres a lot here that defies belief; I know it boggles my mind and I first started having anything to do with tax in 1980. Although I only do tiny bits on a most voluntary basis in 2011, I am totally at a loss, as I expect are my many colleagues on here.

I can only submit that if the banks continue to operate in this manner, then they lose their licences and are closed down. They are now attempting to run society. Thats not run; we run society - we the public run things, not the banks and in the end we will have our say. The way things are going, I am sure that Al Capone must be getting a run for his money by so-called legally corporate enterprises.




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By AnnaKournikovasKnickers
22nd Feb 2011 09:08

Barclays - the casino of choice

Basel 3 make a difference? I think not.

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22nd Feb 2011 09:21

Barclays have done nothing wrong

Until proven otherwise.  It is easy to grumble about Barclays not paying enough corporation tax but unless they have participated in tax evasion, and to assert they have requires proof not innuendo, then let them get on with it.  The UK tax laws and EU law can be changed at any time to counter any avoidance (note distinction avoidance does not mean evasion) Barclays are undertaking, so blame the Governments for not tackling this and not Barclays.  As for the Treasury Select Committee the way Chuck Umanna speaks to Bob Diamond (as if he is a naughty child who has done something mischieveous) is neither helpful nor productive. 


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By johnjenkins
22nd Feb 2011 10:06


The financial institutions, governments etc. should take note about what is going on in the world. Ordinary people have had enough of being manipulated by a few. I'm not saying that the situation in Europe is anywhere near the problems in the middle east, but they are related and there is no doubt that the next couple of years will see a big change in the financial world. 

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By J Lessels
22nd Feb 2011 16:40

SWP? No.

So anyone who has a problem with the behaviour of the banks is SWP are they? Call the police!

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By Peter Tucker
22nd Feb 2011 17:34

Stop Complaining

The £119 million will cover the cost of HMRC introducing Real Time Information for PAYE.

According statements given by HMRC to the House of Commons Public Accounts committee, £100 million is needed for this "new and innovative" way of obtaining PAYE information.

The Treasury will be £19 million in pocket, so what's the fuss?

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By Steve Knowles
25th Feb 2011 12:40

Barclays Tax Bill

I would be more interested to see how much tax Barclays pay in the UK.  This would include CT,  ers  NIC, and the irrecovable VAT (which rose by 14.2% on January 4). 

I would also be interested in how many peole they employ, how much wealth the generate from abroad, and how much they support pensioners with their dividends.

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By 3569787
03rd May 2016 16:42

Just envy


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By Donald2000
02nd Mar 2011 17:51

The politics of envy (reply)

The politics of envy - about time we grew up and faced what was going on in the real world.

You mean we have to face the fact that banks are scamsters and are avoiding taxation and are on the cutting edge of world wide tax evasion. Yes but I think we already know that, thanks for your educative reasoning.

Perhaps you would like us to nominate Colonel Gaddafi for beatification in the near future, on the lines of your exquisite logic.



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