Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax

The decision to consult Ofcom on whether Rupert Murdoch would be a “fit and proper” person to own BSkyB poses more questions than merely those of media plurality.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt’s decision to consult broadcasting regulator Ofcom for advice on whether Rupert Murdoch would be a “fit and proper” person to own 100 per cent of BSkyB poses more questions than merely those of media plurality.

Since the mid-1990s, countries including Britain have allowed the media mogul to pay little corporation tax. As far back as 1995, the Independent reported that in the previous ten years, Murdoch’s News International had paid “virtually no tax”.

While corporation tax was set at 33 per cent, NI paid £11.74m of its £979.4m profit – just 1.2 per cent.

As recently as 2009, News Corporation’s proprietor was being pursued by his homeland’s government after failing to pay the correct rate of corporation tax, both in Australia and the United States.

Earlier this year, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) treasury officials won a legal battle, which awarded them A$77m for avoided taxes and duties. The Guardian reported in 2005 that Murdoch’s family company was moved to Bermuda; the tax bill of A$1.2 billion had the potential to be avoided.

Trevor Bransdon, from financial consultants Godfrey Pembrokem, said:

“Their (ACT’s) claim is that they were owed stamp duty on the transfer of the company from ACT to wherever it’s finished up, I think that’s Bermuda and after about four years investigation and two years of pursuing they’ve managed to get an estimated 77 million out of Rupert in a mix of duties and penalties.”

Having been accused of tax avoidance in a series of legal “flip and spin” moves to tax havens, one government issued a new tax that News Corporation couldn’t avoid. Three years ago, Murdoch’s most powerful competitor in Italy, prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, hit back at his rival by doubling the rate of VAT on pay-to-watch television subscriptions to 20 per cent.

As the Financial Times reported in 2008:

“The 10 per cent rate was set by the first Berlusconi government in 1995, when Mr Murdoch was entering the Italian market and the media moguls were on friendlier terms.”

Murdoch’s empire is not the first or only media company to avoid paying the necessary amount of tax; Conrad Black, convicted in America of fraud and once owner of the third largest group of newspapers in the world, including the Daily Telegraph, wrote in an editorial in 2000:

“People have a legal and moral duty not to evade tax, but they also have a legal and moral right to work out how to pay as little tax as possible, a right which it is in the interest of all citizens to uphold.”

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109 Responses to “Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax”

  1. jaqi

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax http://t.co/cvXGeC3 UK GOV SHOULD MAKE HIM PAY TAX

  2. Petrelli Pierre

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax http://t.co/cvXGeC3 UK GOV SHOULD MAKE HIM PAY TAX

  3. Karl Davis

    Rupert Murdoch tax avoider: http://t.co/SJIoVWn

  4. Paul Krishnamurty

    Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax writes @clairee_french http://is.gd/jobA34 – more on #phonehacking scandal

  5. malcolm

    Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in UK tax: http://bit.ly/nMkNrv writes @clairee_french #phonehacking

  6. dm

    Guess what Lord Ashcroft and #Murdoch have in common. Other than being slimey right-wing c*nts… http://t.co/9Fw5uw6 via @leftfootfwd

  7. Simon Zec

    Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax writes @clairee_french http://is.gd/jobA34 – more on #phonehacking scandal

  8. Jeni Acelas

    Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax writes @clairee_french http://is.gd/jobA34 – more on #phonehacking scandal

  9. sam tomlin

    Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in UK tax: http://bit.ly/nMkNrv writes @clairee_french #phonehacking

  10. Russ Noble

    Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in UK tax http://bit.ly/rczQLw

  11. Murray Christison

    Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in UK tax: http://bit.ly/nMkNrv writes @clairee_french #phonehacking

  12. Hugh Potter

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in UK tax: http://bit.ly/nMkNrv #phonehacking

  13. Tony Dowling

    Rupert Murdoch tax avoider: http://t.co/SJIoVWn

  14. Jackie Fleming

    Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax http://bit.ly/n8Osth

  15. marisa faizul

    Rupert Murdoch tax avoider: http://t.co/SJIoVWn

  16. Andrew Hall

    Rupert Murdoch tax avoider: http://t.co/SJIoVWn

  17. David Dubost

    Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax writes @clairee_french http://is.gd/jobA34 – more on #phonehacking scandal

  18. Tony Dowling

    Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax writes @clairee_french http://is.gd/jobA34 – more on #phonehacking scandal

  19. InternationalUNCUT

    Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in UK tax | Left Foot Forward http://fb.me/B1ngBmPo

  20. Anon E Mouse

    Claire French – The Guardian Newspaper also tells us how to vote yet they avoid huge amounts of tax in this country as well. It is LEGAL. It is called Tax Avoidance – ask Labour’s Tessa Jowell.

    Her husband is a leading Tax Avoidance lawyer…

    Is that OK or are you displaying typical Labour hypocrisy and secretly subscribe to Sky TV yourself?

  21. Shajidur Rahman

    Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in UK tax: http://bit.ly/nMkNrv writes @clairee_french #phonehacking

  22. Habeeb Yusuf

    Can tax super-avoider Murdoch really pass Ofcom's "fit and proper" test for media ownership? asks @clairee_french http://t.co/xWHSKMv

  23. A Sanguinarius

    Can tax super-avoider Murdoch really pass Ofcom's "fit and proper" test for media ownership? asks @clairee_french http://t.co/xWHSKMv

  24. Jill Hayward

    Can tax super-avoider Murdoch really pass Ofcom's "fit and proper" test for media ownership? asks @clairee_french http://t.co/xWHSKMv

  25. Miss T. Mink

    Can tax super-avoider Murdoch really pass Ofcom's "fit and proper" test for media ownership? asks @clairee_french http://t.co/xWHSKMv

  26. David C Thomas

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax http://t.co/emqoEGc

  27. t hill

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hypocrite #Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax writes @clairee_french http://is.gd/jobA34

  28. Hens4Freedom

    Can tax super-avoider Murdoch really pass Ofcom's "fit and proper" test for media ownership? asks @clairee_french http://t.co/xWHSKMv

  29. Guido Fawkes

    Like GMG, it has hundreds of millions of assets in the Caymans?

  30. Fabian

    yes, we know the guardian is left leaning. yes, we know that GMG avoids taxes. Yes, we know that LFF is clearly biased in favour of labour. But this article isn’t about GMG or labour, is it?
    Talk about a pathetic defence of tax avoidance. Anybody can think straight away of a number of morally dubious actions that are perfectly legal, its legality doesn’t mean we can’t call someone’s integrity into question for it.

  31. Jennifer Hiller

    Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in UK tax http://bit.ly/ntY8bE

  32. malcolm

    Rupert Murdoch tax avoider: http://t.co/SJIoVWn

  33. Leon Wolfson

    Mouse – Funny, you’re once more spinning one situation into “the party”. Okay, want me to bring up every individual Tory mis-step?

    There are several ways, in reality, to handle this.

    One, crack down on tax loopholes and collect the proper amount of tax. This is the favoured soloution of most of the West, but the UK already collected a relatively low proportion of it’s tax revenue, and the Tories are taking steps which will lower it further.

    Two, set tax rates such that even with avoidance by the rich, a reasonable actual tax rate exists. This worked quite well in America for some time, but it ended…without the loopholes being closed, and hence lead to the problems in America of *their* tax gap.

    So… one or the other! Rather than your Tory policy of letting the rich not pay their proper tax rates.

  34. Ed's Talking Balls

    Thank goodness The Guardian is still fighting the good fight against the evil tax avoiders. Now, if only the News of the World could run one last copy next Sunday decrying the evils of phone tapping…

  35. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – Which sounds great except Labour were in power for 13 years and did nothing about it. They even rewarded the bankers with knighthoods.

    You didn’t notice my ironic comment about the profession of Tessa Jowell’s husband and perhaps when you realise America only reduced unemployment by 18K last month and has the second highest business tax rate at 35% behind only Japan.

    Clearly high taxes and high unemployment seem to be linked. Labour, the party of big business, city slickers, bankers and spivs are just being hypocrites. Please tell me how you feel about the GMG and whether you support Rupert Murdoch by subscribing to sky Leon Wolfson.

    I await your excuse for doing so….

  36. James Sheen

    Rupert Murdoch tax avoider: http://t.co/SJIoVWn

  37. Dave Citizen

    Anon – rather than simply finding ever more obscure ways to say “but Labour is just as bad or worse” – what is your view? Is it ok for Murdoch and co to influence, preach to and manipulate the British political scene while avoiding as much tax as they possibly can?

    I for one think we should severely restrict the ability of any organisation to manipulate our democracy. If they aren’t playing by the spirit of our tax rules at the same time then sling-em-out I say.

  38. Leon Wolfson

    Mouse – Sky? I don’t have a TV at all. I can’t afford a TV licence. The only newspapers I read are free ones, on the Tube.

    I’m calling on Labour to act in a way such that I can vote for them next time round. No more, no less. I’m aware that not voting them them is a boon for the Tories, and that it’s in your interest to try and put me off, but you really need to change tactics if you’re doing anything but proving the nasty party is strong with this one.

  39. Anon E Mouse

    Dave Citizen – I do not want to live in a country where governments decide what is or what isn’t appropriate for me to watch or read or listen to.

    I saw the expenses scandal and it showed how dishonest the people we put into power actually are.

    Will you be advocating throwing out the guardian Media Group then, being a man of conviction as you’ve always claimed to be?

  40. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – So you are saying that Cameron had bad judgement in employing Andy Coulson is as bad as lying to the country about WMD where thousands of innocent people died?

    Or that Ed Miliband employing Tom Baldwin, also ex News International was any different?

    The nasty party took away the 10p tax rate and short of an outright Lib Dem government I just see this coalition as being better.

    As brave as I’ve said elsewhere that Miliband is taking on Murdoch, all he has done is convinced Labour to stick with him which will result in them losing the next election worse than if they ditched him and put his brother in.

    Sally Bercow has tweeted about Labour’s record with Murdoch and she may be right…

  41. Anon E Mouse

    Dave Citizen – Is it OK for the BBC which has to be paid for under threat of imprisonment to have its bias?

    It’s far more powerful than Murdoch – it’s just that you don’t like the fact he smashed the print union dinosaurs…

  42. Dave Citizen

    Anon – so you can say what you don’t want, but what about what you do want? What do you think is a healthy amount of media influence for a private individual or family to accumulate in a democracy? And what do you think should be done about such families when their organisations break a democracy’s laws so flagrantly?

    This story is about the manipulation of our politics by narrow private interests, not about government controlling what we can watch – just go on the internet and you’ll find pretty much anything you want. But rest assured, the fringe voices out there are very effectively kept at the fringe by elite interests of which the Murdochs are a leading light.

    If you really want to watch what you like then you’ll join the cause for getting shot of the elite interests that control what is put before our eyes on a daily basis from cradle to grave.

  43. Scott

    Leon,
    you can’t afford a tv license but you have a computer! And you talk about the nasty party! Is that the nasty party that abolshed the 10p tax band and made the poor poorer…huh

  44. Kevin Richards

    "Do as I say not as I do" RT @leftfootfwd: Hypocrite #Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax http://t.co/sIAsrcO

  45. Paul Rooke

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax http://t.co/F89LdoS #NI #NC #BSKYB #NOTW

  46. Andy Vines

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax http://t.co/F89LdoS #NI #NC #BSKYB #NOTW

  47. Matthew Houlihan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax http://t.co/F89LdoS #NI #NC #BSKYB #NOTW

  48. laura el darrat

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax http://t.co/F89LdoS #NI #NC #BSKYB #NOTW

  49. A Sanguinarius

    RT @leftfootfwd: Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax http://t.co/F89LdoS #NI #NC #BSKYB #NOTW

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