A razzie for obfuscating PwC

by admin on February 18, 2009

in General,Tax and Ethics

MayorWatch has a piece that looks suspiciously like a retrodden press release. I make no apology for ripping the entire piece because there are bags of nuggets worthy of comment:

Figures produced for the City of London show the UK’s financial services sector contributed an estimated £67.8bn to UK government taxes – 13.9% of the total UK tax take – in the financial year ending 31 March 2007.

The figures are contained in a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) for the City of London Corporation and are based on data provided by 32 large UK financial services companies which has been extrapolated to estimate the total tax take for the financial services sector as a whole.

So it’s not a set of facts after all but an estimate, presumably designed for readers to be both impressed and awed at the importance of the financial services industry to the UK economy. I think we’ve been spoon fed enough PR on that.

According to the report, corporation tax was the largest tax borne: financial services companies paid £12.2bn in corporation tax, more than a quarter (27.5%) of total corporation tax paid in the UK economy. For every £1 paid in corporation tax, financial services companies contributed £1.50 in other taxes borne.

Employers’ National Insurance Contributions (NICs) was the second largest tax borne by companies, at £7.6bn. In addition, individuals working in the financial services industry paid £14.9bn in personal income tax through PAYE and £3.2bn in employees’ NICs. This means an average of £25,000 tax paid per worker employed in the financial services’ industry.

PAYE and personal IT are NOT contributions made on behalf of the industry at all. This is a continuation of the obfuscation that PwC and others perpetrate on  behalf of their clients to distort numbers as a deliberate ploy for continuing to argue the legitimacy of exotic tax avoidance.

The financial services sector contribution to the government’s tax take is likely to fall as a result of the financial crisis and economic downturn. The report predicts that, if revenues in the sector fall by 20%, corporation tax contributions would fall by £8.4bn to £3.8bn. Employment taxes are also likely to fall as jobs are lost in the financial services sector. The research predicts that for every 5 % fall in employment (50,000 job losses) there would be a reduced contribution in employment taxes of £1.3bn.

A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation said: “This timely research is a useful snapshot of the financial services sector’s contribution to the UK’s public finances.”

Anyone notice the veiled appeal to government to ensure financial services keep chugging along? No wonder Richard Murphy tears government a new one on its foot dragging performance at the G7. Like Richard, I find it astonishing that government still refuses to recognize what’s been going on in Buccaneer Town, aided and abetted by Big Four representatives. Will someone please thwack government over the head with a reality stick?

All of which earns PwC a razzie for Best Crafted BS of the Week.

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