A BURTON-based brewing giant has revealed that it is ‘fully compliant with UK tax rules’ after being accused of avoiding UK corporation tax.
Molson Coors, based in High Street, was urged to issue a statement campaign group Corporate Watch alleged that the firm was reducing its tax bills in the UK by taking high-interest loans from their global owners via the Channel Islands Stock Exchange (CISE).
It was then said that they send the interest out of the UK tax free, thanks to foreign investment incentives known as the quoted Eurobond exemption.
The report claimed that Molson Coors worldwide avoided up to £67 million in UK corporation tax by lending its British businesses £535 million, cutting profits via the interest payments.
A percentage of the interest would usually go straight to HMRC, but because the loans were made through the CISE they qualify for the Eurobond exemption and so avoid tax.
A spokesman for the firm said: “ Molson Coors comply fully to the tax codes of every market in which it operates.
“Molson Coors UK tax affairs have been reviewed and approved by HMRC, and are deemed to be fully compliant with UK tax rules.”
“HMRC continually review our structures, our systems, our governance and the amount of tax we pay and rate our business as a low-risk and fully compliant operation.
“Yearly, Molson Coors UK pay around £850m in excise, VAT and payroll taxes.
“In 2012 alone Molson Coors paid over half of its entire annual UK turnover in taxes to HMRC.
“Molson Coors are a significant contributor to the UK economy.
“ We employ 2,300 people in the UK and continually invest in our breweries and brands.
“In addition, we continue to fund a major pension scheme supporting thousands of UK pensioners.”
The Eurobond exemption has long been a bone of contention and several attempts to close the loophole have, so far, fallen on deaf ears.