Tax domicile of world’s biggest advertising and marketing group was relocated to Dublin in 2008 in protest over ‘double taxation’
Britain’s most powerful advertising man, Sir Martin Sorrell, is a step closer to relocating the headquarters of WPP back to London from Dublin, with a shareholder vote to seal the move due in December.
Sorrell, chief executive of the world’s largest advertising and marketing group, said the board approved the move, leaving shareholder consent as the final hurdle.
He moved WPP’s tax domicile to Ireland in 2008 in protest at the prospect of “double taxation” of overseas profits – once abroad and again in the UK.
“The UK coalition government has now enacted legislation covering the taxation of foreign profits from 2013,” said Sorrell . “This will mean that, at least for the life of this government, there will be no tax cost to the group by returning its headquarters to the United Kingdom from Ireland.”
But Sorrell was critical of the government’s wider tax strategy after this week’s call by Nick Clegg for a wealth tax.
“The government’s troubles started with the budget,” he said. “One of the budget provisions was to move the income tax marginal rate down from 50% to 45%. From an entrepreneurial view it didn’t make sense. If you want to improve entrepreneurial activity, reduce the rate of capital gains tax. Don’t mess about with income tax … The government has shot itself in the foot. “
Sorrell said investors will vote on the move at a WPP extraordinary general meeting planned for “early December”.
He said: “If shareholders think it is a bad idea they will vote it down. But I don’t think they will.”
When WPP moved to Dublin in 2008 it was with the support of 99% of shareholders, Sorrell said, indicating there would almost certainly be overwhelming support for the board’s decision this time.
Sorrell also addressed the issues raised following WPP’s annual general meeting in June, when nearly 60% of shareholders voted to reject his £6.8m annual pay packet. He also received a £5.6m share windfall under WPP’s leadership equity acquisitions plan.
According to corporate governance group Manifest, the protest was the largest shareholder rebellion at a blue chip company since 90% voted against Sir Fred Goodwin’s pension arrangements at Royal Bank of Scotland in 2009.
Sorrell admitted that he “misjudged the mood of shareholders”, but remained defiant about the need for British companies to pay well to remain competitive in the global marketplace.
“We do operate in a highly competitive environment, an extremely competitive environment particularly from a salary and compensation point of view,” he told the BBC. “If we want WPP to be successful or, frankly, if we want more WPPs in the UK we have to get a better understanding of what’s necessary.”
He added: “There are arguments on both sides and it is a question about what we really want at the end of the day in terms of competitive enterprises.”
WPP’s board – led by Philip Lader, the former White House deputy chief of staff who has chaired the company for 11 years, and Jeffery Rosen, the investment banker who heads its remuneration committee – has been meeting investors to discuss the revolt over Sorrell’s pay and reach a compromise on future payouts.
“The consultation is ongoing, we will see how it comes out,” said Sorrell. “It is very difficult to get a unified view from anyone, it is like trying to distil many views, it can be hard to come to a conclusion. What happens to me happens to others as well. At the end of the day the critical factor will be do we want WPP to remain competitive?”
On Thursday, WPP reported a 7% rise in pre-tax profits to £358m in the first half of 2012, but lowered its forecast for full-year revenue growth after a slowdown in June and July. WPP downgraded its forecast of 4% revenue growth for the year to 3.5%, although Sorrell cautioned that it was not a sign the company had concerns about a major slowdown in the global advertising industry.
Chancellor George Osborne tells the BBC that the government “got it wrong” on its proposed changes to taxation on charitable giving in the Budget.
Read more: Osborne: Charity tax was wrong
If you listen closely to people’s ‘tax talk’, what you hear is not Tea Party extremism but legitimate anxiety from the squeezed centre
Years ago, I spent a summer working in a bicycle shop in Tampa, Florida. I had fully paid healthcare and got a weekly bonus for commuting to work by bicycle. These seemingly liberal policies aside, the shop was a hotbed of virulent conservative rhetoric. What surprised me most at the time was how all sorts of rightwing proclamations were prefaced and postscripted with a reference to taxation.
The plight of those without healthcare was trumped by an appeal to keeping taxes low. The need for tighter security at the US-Mexican border was also justified as a fiscal matter. From bike shop workers and customers alike, I repeatedly heard narratives that implied a failure to pay taxes should disentitle someone to public education or even emergency hospital care. In one particularly hyperbolic outburst, one person in the shop rationalized the hypothetical murdering of a household of migrant workers with the comment, “What’s it matter? They don’t pay taxes.”
For some time now, taxes have been a hot-button political issue, and a great deal of resources are dedicated to the matter in the form of large quantitative public opinion polls. But what such survey data cannot capture is the complexity of what I heard while working at the bike shop. To try to get at the more ethnographic dimensions of everyday tax talk, my co-researcher, Isaac Martin, and I set out to create a study that would, as much as possible, replicate the types of discussions ordinary people have about fiscal policy. We were particularly interested in interviewing white, southern, small business owners – a cross-section of the population that is paradigmatically anti-taxation.
Our findings highlight how people can use tax talk as a way of asserting what sociologist Herbert Blumer called “a sense of group position”. That is, tax talk can be a symbolic way for people to proclaim their righteousness, in contrast to those they believe are less deserving. Thus, our interviews were filled with abstract descriptions of people our respondents felt unjustly benefited from federal tax policies. The poor were described as “people not trying to work” and “the ones not doing anything”.
On the other hand, the rich were also maligned as undeserving. They were unflatteringly characterized as “the big guys”, “the fat cats”, and “executives paying themselves millions”.
We were conducting our interviews after the financial meltdown, at the heights of public debate about various federal stimulus and bailout policies, and the mass media helped frame our respondents’ discussions. The importance of our findings is in how people brought these economic issues to life in everyday discourse.
In ordinary talk, these matters are not really about balancing budgets and encouraging growth. They are about a moral sense of right and wrong. They are about asserting one’s belief about who should and should not be rewarded by the policies of the federal government. (And it’s worth noting here that even though we attempted to engage people in talk about all forms of taxation, people generally only wanted to talk about federal income tax.)
Ultimately, our respondents’ discursive use of the income tax – as a symbol of a morally illegitimate, exploitive relationship between hardworking middle-class people, and the rich and poor who exploit them – helps to illuminate why tax talk occupies such a central place in American political discourse. Among other things, it clarifies what American conservatives talk about when they talk about taxes. Fiscal debates are about more than money; they are also about the meanings people attribute to how that money is collected in the first place.
The Tea Party is a vivid example. Although the rhetoric of the Tea Party concerns taxes, this is not the main policy concern of the movement. Instead, Tea Party activists use anti-tax rhetoric to position themselves symbolically as a righteous group burdened by policies they believe only benefit the rich and the poor. Thus, when Americans lash out at “takeovers”, “massive taxes”, and “bailouts”, they are locating these fiscal issues within a more general cultural narrative. And that story is of a hardworking middle class besieged on all sides.
In other words, their tax talk is about dollars, but it is also about sense. The sense of self of America’s squeezed middle class.
Tax authorities have ordered a former chairman of the now-bankrupt Incubator Bank of Japan to pay about
TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – March 31, 2012) - Ontarians from every riding in the province are solidly opposed to the unfairness of McGuinty’s budget and they are ready to go back to the polls to demand fair taxation, says a new poll conducted by Public Polling Inc. on behalf of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL).
Read more here: REPEAT: New Poll Finds Strong Majority Supports Calling an Election
Campaigners are preparing to take their fight for a cut in fuel duty to Westminster. A mass lobby is planned to try to persuade the Chancellor to cut taxation in his budget.
Read more: VIDEO: Fight for fuel duty cut continues
NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The national average gas price rising 30 cents in the past month alone, but everyone feels the sting a little differently. As we reported last week, the price of a gallon of gas varies wildly from one country to another, ranging from just a few cents in Venezuela to close to $10 in Norway and Eritrea. And even within the U.S. there’s significant variance, with a low of $3.12 per gallon in Wyoming and a high of $4.32 per gallon in Hawaii.
Why does the price of a gallon of gas vary so much from state to state? As with country-by-country averages, the big culprit is taxation. While drivers in all states are hit with a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon, there are also a variety of state-level taxes that hit your wallet at the pump. Using current average gas prices from AAA and state taxation data compiled by the Tax Foundation, we decided to look at the states where taxes (federal and state combined) make up the biggest percentage of the cost of a gallon of gas.
Want to know why you pay so much more for gas than relatives across the country? It could be your state’s gas tax.
View original post here: 10 States Where Gas Taxes Hurt the Most
NEW YORK (TheStreet) – Candidate Mitt Romney wants you to believe he will lower taxes while cutting the national debt.
But President Romney will need to raise taxes if he is going to have any chance of lowering U.S. debt, according to his former private equity pals.
Now a strong frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, Romney has repeatedly said that cutting the national debt, reducing the budget deficit and curbing taxation will be a key to his economic agenda.
See the original post here: Romney Will Raise Taxes, Private Equity Argues