Coronavirus and the tax system

16 April 2020 – Alex Dunnagan

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on economies around the world, provoking an unprecedented response from government. In the UK, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has pledged to do “whatever it takes”, introducing a variety of emergency packages which eclipse the response to the financial crisis of 2007-08.

Throughout this pandemic we will be assessing the winners and losers of government initiatives, as well as monitoring the actions of lobby groups and business. Although government support for business during these extraordinary times is both right and necessary, we have already seen certain sectors attempt to exploit this situation for financial gain.

TaxWatch bailout tracker

In order to keep track of how government support mechanisms are being used, we have launched a coronavirus bailout tracker.

This is a web form which allows anyone contribute to our work by submitting details of how businesses are using government support.

You can access our coronavirus bailout tracker here.

TaxWatch’s view on Labour’s proposed Covid corruption commissioner

While it’s great news Labour is focusing on tackling fraud, real success depends on fully-funded public services to take appropriate action in those cases.

HMRC’s record on covid support and tax fraud under the microscope

HMRC’s record on tax fraud has been questioned by two select committees and in several parliamentary debates in recent weeks

Funding to fight covid related tax and benefits fraud

Analysis by TaxWatch has found that the DWP is spending more than twice the amount being spent by HMRC on recovering an increase in fraudulent payments arising from the pandemic.

James Bond goes on furlough

The latest accounts of the company behind James Bond reveal more tax credit claims and claims for furlough payments.

Supermarket Super Tax Breaks

Tesco has announced that it is repaying £585m of business rates relief. Back in March we wrote why supermarkets didn’t need this tax break.

Tax avoidance, bailouts and bribery – The UK government’s Corona Corporate Finance Facility

The BoE has published a list of 53 companies receiving CCFF loans. We calculated that over 29% of the loans were given to companies with links to tax havens.

Tax havens, tax avoidance, and government support for businesses during the coronavirus pandemic

Governments that wish to restrict bailouts going to tax avoiders should insist that companies sign up to new rules on their tax behaviour.

Wars, taxes, and excess profits

The current crisis has been likened to a war. In previous wars, governments have sought to tax any excess profits arising from the conflict.

Financial services lobbyists request EU delay anti-avoidance measures

A consortium of financial services lobbyists have written to the European Commission calling for a delay to the implementation of anti-avoidance measures due to be rolled out on 01 July.

The coronavirus is not an excuse for tech giants to cash in on taxpayer generosity

Tech companies are using Covid-19 as an excuse to lobby governments around the world for a deferral to digital services taxes and reductions in privacy laws according to media reports.

Tech companies and the response to Covid-19

We calculate that the amount of cash donated by these tech giants accounts for just 0.22% of the total amount of profits accumulated in tax havens by the end of 2017.

Supermarkets to receive billions from government coronavirus package

The coronavirus outbreak will not be easy for anyone – but there is no doubt that some industries and businesses are set to do well from the widespread social changes that the crisis demands.

Covid 19 – Pope says tax avoiders have committed “murder”

Pope Francis holds tax dodgers partially responsible for the struggle Italian health services are now going through in trying to deal with covid