We all know that big rich corporations always try to find ways to keep their money away from the taxmen. What The price we pay tells us is that offshore tax havens is an epidemi that’s eating at the global economy. What can governments do? Quebec tax expert Brigitte Alepin (who co-authored the screenplay) tell us about the time the Quebec Pauline Marois government wanted to raise tax on the wealthiest, including corporations. The companies threatened to leave the province. So the government relented. But a Canadian company, for instane, can create a false headquarter in a country where regulations are such that they don’t have to pay any taxes there. The city with the greatest number of tax evaders, we’re told, is London, England. So the money is sent to Ireland, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands or Deleware, among others. And there is nothing you and I can do about it. If our governments are aware of it, they may choose to ignore it and join in the banquet. Thankfully not every politician react that way. We see clips from the British parliament’s House of Commons Public Accounts Committee. The best moment occurs when Labour MP and Committee chair Margaret Hodge speaks with Amazon’s director of public policy, Andrew Cecil. When asked how much money the company is making in the U.K., Cecil won’t answer. Amazon is not used to divulge these numbers. What they do is legal, claims Andrew Cecil. Labour MP Margaret Hodge does not mince words. “We are not accusing you of being illegal, we are accusing you of being immoral.” I could not have said it better.
The price we pay