“Tax is a social contract. It is undermined when giant technology companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and Uber do all they can to minimise their liabilities by virtue of their global reach and commercial heft”, so asserted a Times editorial last week.
That opening sentence is a disgrace, specially for the Times, a very good survivor in a dying industry.
While its base proposition is correct, including Uber in its villains list is unbelievable. Tax is paid on profits. As I’ve written before, Uber cannot make a profit as there’s nothing left after the drivers have taken their cut‑price whack. To date it’s run up massive losses and the bigger it gets, the bigger are its losses. But if by some miracle it actually began to turn a profit, the credits for past losses would see no taxes paid for decades. How can the Times be so naïve?