Re: Cunning Stunts
@ Brewster's Angle Grinder:
There are still possibilities, though:
How about implementing a maximum amount that can be claimed as a cost by a UK PLC as an "asset use charge" for IP such as names etc and set it at some low percentage of total revenue, then disregard any additional costs submitted by the company when calculating tax liability? Better yet, set that maximum amount as a % of profits declared in the UK? Ie if you want to be able to funnel out £5M as a cost, you have to have declared a profit of £50M (and paid tax on it).
Or placing an onerous burden of proof re: competitive tendering process for supplier choice (to be reviewed by independent auditors) when eg Starbucks claim they have to use Starbucks beans bought at a 5 Gajillion% markup compared to every other suppier, and where such proof is lacking only accept a cost declaration set by the average cost of said supplies from eg the top 5 suppliers per volume, and ignore any additional costs when calculating tax liability. It doesn't eliminate the problem, but it makes it cost them more to do it, and eventually the cost-benefit analysis will tip the other way.
For product-based companies in particular like Starbucks and Apple, the claim that they have to pay themselves for use of said assets is clearly bollocks. There's no actual business requirement for it, it's an accounting convenience. So limit the accounting benefit from letting them do it. No actual business model will operate in such a way that all possible profit margin is eaten by a cost to an exclusive supplier; if there's no *actual* profit, there's no reason to continue operating.
Alternatively, pass legislation whereby leaking corporate tax arrangements is permissible under law - and so is eg tasering company executives for approving such measures. (Just kidding, though it strikes me that a BOFH-like solution would be more effective in achieving changed behaviour...)