Is this Tunstall’s ‘taxgate’? Maybe not.

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”170″ /]On Monday, The Independent, one of the UK’s major national papers, turned its attention in a ‘Tax Special Investigation’ to nine healthcare companies which are using a corporation tax reducing scheme, the ‘Quoted Eurobond Exemption’, where they pay loan interest at high rates to their parent companies through a mechanism via the Channel Islands Stock Exchange, rather than their owners further investing by taking additional equity. (How it works–infographic from The Independent)

One of the companies the article focused on was Tunstall and its owners Charterhouse and Bridgepoint. Tunstall’s profits–like the other healthcare companies profiled, Partnerships In Care, Independent Clinical Services, Priory Group, Acorn Care, Lifeways, Healthcare At Home, Spire Healthcare and Care UK–come largely from the public sector and, by using this means to pay less tax, less money is recycled back to the Treasury. The article estimates the amount for each company which would have been paid had this tax exemption not been in place. This Editor notes that a number of the companies profiled have had significant inspection problems and numerous complaints–Tunstall is not one of them, but it is the second largest ‘tax avoider’ (after Spire) listed.

There seem to be three ways to regard this:
1) it’s a commendably clever contrivance
2) it’s a suspiciously shady stratagem
3) it’s a non-story because it is something imposed on Tunstall by its owners

Whatever it may be, we are left wondering if Tunstall’s customers benefit in any way from this tax saving. We will be interested in our readers’ views.

Independent article: Tax Special Investigation: Firms running NHS care services avoiding millions in tax It is equally popular with well known high street (US=Main Street) retailers and restaurant chains: Eurobonds scandal: The high street giants avoiding millions in tax    (more…)