Tesco has quietly returned to a multimillion-pound Channel Islands tax dodge four years after the authorities in Jersey banished the supermarket group's VAT-free CD and DVD website from the island, accusing Britain's largest retailer of operating a "sham" selling structure that brought the Channel Islands into disrepute.And how are they doing this?
Simples! They moved the operation to the island next door.
The Tesco Entertainment website is now offering online VAT-free sales of CDs and DVDs from Guernsey, the Guardian has learned. The tax avoidance involved may be unclear to many customers, however, as the site's small print simply states: "All prices are expressed inclusive of any VAT payable unless otherwise stated."And if it’s made clear, people will say ‘Oh, that’s terrible! If only I’d known! I’d happily pay more money to ensure that the government gets the VAT…’, I suppose?
Yeah. That’s what I thought too:
The move is likely to prove embarrassing for the British government which has sought to dismiss suggestions this VAT loophole trade is ballooning out of control.It seems everyone is expected to be ‘embarrassed’ by this. Who is embarrassed by doing something perfectly legal that saves you money?
Told of Tesco's low-key return to Channel Islands VAT avoidance, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vincent Cable said: "It seems to me absolutely extraordinary and seriously unwise for a leading British plc to be caught out dodging tax at a time when the country has a very serious fiscal crisis on its hands. I am sure if they are sufficiently aware of the importance of their reputation in this area that they will stop it immediately."Yes, I’m sure their customers will demand that they start charging higher prices when they don’t need to, Vince…