U.K. budget chancellor George Osborne delivered the 2013 budget to the nation’s citizens today, and one of the main components of that budget was what he called the “first ever general anti-abuse rule” aimed at tax avoiders and those who advise others about how to avoid taxes.
There has been greater scrutiny of corporate tax avoidance in recent months as lawmakers take aim at practices like the so-called “double Irish with a Dutch sandwich,” which involves moving revenue through countries with lower corporate tax rates. Such practices are legal, but for the first time, they are being put under the microscope by global governments.
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“My message to those who make a living advising other people how to aggressively avoid their taxes is this,” said Osborne. “This government is not going to let you get away with it.”
Speaking to the BBC, Osborne said the new rules will allow the U.K. government to “name and shame promoters of tax avoidance schemes.”
Other elements of the rules include agreements with the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey. All three of the islands have been the target of the U.K. recently, as they are some of Europe’s most well-known tax havens. Osborne said those agreements would bring in over a billion pounds of unpaid taxes.
He also said this year’s budget includes new rules to stop the abuse of partnership and corporate tax rules, which according to Osborne, would include another 2 billion pounds.
The new anti-tax avoidance rules are undoubtedly aimed at large global companies like Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). The U.K. government has accused all three companies of “immoral tax avoidance.”
The U.K. isn’t the only nation cracking down on tax avoidance. Australia has also put several global companies in the tax hot seat, including Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). The U.S. has also been taking a closer look at the tax practices of various companies, including Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).