The general view on blue chip companies and the tax they pay (or not pay in some cases) has ruffled the feathers of each and every small business owner for many years, but more so during recent times.
SME owners rightfully feel that blue chip companies such as Vodafone, Costa Coffee, Google etc, receive preferential treatment from HMRC, and that a blind eye is turned in respect to cross boarder structures and avoidance schemes that SME owner's would otherwise be penalised for implementing.
Although there is clearly an element of deal cutting and turning a blind eye between HMRC and "some" blue chip companies, all is not as it seems.
Most of the top 100+ companies across the UK actually conduct their tax affairs inline with current legislation and do not require complex cross boarder avoidance structure's in order to lower their tax liabilities. They utilise current, legal and more importantly HMRC approved tax reduction products that are also available to the SME market!
Let's take a look at what the top 100 companies receive tax relief on:
Purchase of a new commercial premises: Tax relief of up to 45% of the purchase price
Refurbishment of premises: Tax relief of up to 100% of expenditure incurred
Installation of energy saving technology: Tax relief of 100% or a cash injection tax credit
Clearing contaminated land: Tax relief of up to 150% of expenditure incurred
Development of new software, process or service: Tax Relief of up to 230% and/or tax credit
All of the above tax reliefs are available to the SME market by way of Capital Allowances, ECA'S, Land Remediation Relief and Research & Development Allowances.
The main reason you may not be taking advantage of these extremely generous tax reliefs is due to the fact that most general accountancy practices do not have the dual discipline of tax/surveyor in order to complete or maximise the claim to its fullest. Whilst your accountant is more than likely doing a great job in reducing your tax bill, it is unlikely they are using one of the above to really hammer it down to unprecedented levels like the top 100 companies enjoy.