Marks & Spencer faces criticism on tax practices

British retailer Marks & Spencer is facing criticism for tax practices related to its online shopping offerings.

Recently, M&S launched its marksandspencer.eu site, expanding its market reach to several continental European countries, including Germany and France. However, even though orders from the site are dispatched from the UK, all items are purchased by the company’s Irish branch at a wholesale price. When resold to customers, the goods are then subject to Ireland’s corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, the lowest in Europe, adding up to considerable savings for M&S.

The company maintains that this practice is legal and fair, as the sales made on its European site are not to UK customers, nor are they made in Sterling. However, advocacy groups like the UK Tax Justice Network have criticised Marks & Spencer, saying their practices amount to dodging taxation.

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Various other corporations have been criticised for questionable methods of handling billing and taxes, most notably Amazon.com.
 

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