"I'm spending a year dead for tax reasons." Douglas Adams

The big news trending at the moment is Facebook’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg's announcement that he will donate 99% of his Facebook shares to charity. That will leave him with about £450 million – not shabby at all.

But as generous as this is, allow me to make one critical observation. Wouldn’t it be a good start for him to pay his proper share of his UK taxes first? And would it not be proper to let the British taxpayer decide how to spend the tax collected and, is it really Mr. Zuckerberg’s place to decide where the money which should have been allocated to the UK tax pot be spent?

I touched upon this before in a previous blog as it was reported that Facebook paid only £4,327 in UK tax and paid an average of £210,000 in pay and bonuses to their UK staff and made a profit of £1.9bn. Again I’m not against being generous; especially when it involves your staff but I’m also a big believer of paying your dues. I think we can all agree that a business obligation to the tax man is an important part of our system. If the Facebook owner can ‘give away’ such a large sum of money, why is it so difficult for him to to pay what he owes?

This has catapulted Facebook back in to the spotlight – for the right or wrong reasons I’ll let you decide but pay your dues first then you can give away as much as you like – surely that’s a satisfying accomplishment too?

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AIMS Accountants for Business are the largest independent association of professionally qualified accountants in the UK specialising in accountancy for small, local and independent businesses. AIMS are no ordinary accountants and we are more than just number crunchers!


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