After being quoted in The Times on potentially taxing tech giants, such as Google and Facebook, Resi CEO Alex Depledge shares this statement:
Questioned on my opinion on a potential digital tax for today’s Times, I was happy to endorse it as a proposal.
But I’d like to clarify that this is a moral issue that applies on a broader scale to all big companies, whether it’s Facebook, or non-tech companies like IKEA.
The bottom line is that companies should not be allowed to use loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of tax. That might have a particular relevance at the moment for the digital behemoths, but it’s a wider issue, about how businesses operate and what they contribute to society.
Essentially, if you’re rich, you can afford to pay your taxes. We all need to foot the bill for services, at the end of the day.
When I sold my first business Hassle.com, I paid my taxes in full. It simply wouldn’t have occurred to me to look for some way of avoiding doing that. I was proud to have contributed.
This is how the big tech companies should operate too and what I would urge Philip Hammond to try to ensure that in today’s Budget.
But any ‘digital tax’ needs to be carefully directed, so that it doesn’t end up catching the people it shouldn’t and penalising smaller operations. Legislation should help start-ups and new innovations to grow.
Done properly, a digital tax could help to address a wider moral issue in business, but it needs to be seen within that overall framework.
That said, we shouldn’t be afraid of any threats from big companies about quitting the UK. It’s simply too big a market for them not to do business here. We’ve got the institutions and the talent, they won’t leave.
What we want is to encourage all successful businesses to operate fairly - online or otherwise.