Tax take up from the UK's biggest companies

The amount of corporation tax paid by the UK's biggest businesses fell by a quarter in 2013, but their total tax contribution rose by £500m, driven largely by higher employment taxes, VAT and excise duties, according to research by PwC.

The firm's annual survey of the 100 Group of finance directors shows their organisations paid £77.1bn in total in taxes in 2013, up from £77.6bn, although profits overall were down.

CBI chief policy director Katja Hall said: 'Despite the public perception and media debate on business and taxation, the vast majority of businesses pays, and wants to pay, the right amount of tax. This survey shows that the tax contribution of the FTSE 100 has remained constant, contributing 14% of government receipts, despite a cut in corporation tax.'

PwC's data shows corporation tax payments declined from £8bn to £6bn as a result of reduced profits and a lower tax rate. In contrast, employers' national insurance contributions now make up the largest chunk of businesses' tax costs (at 27.5%), as 100 Group companies started to employ more people (1.3% increase on 2012) and increase wages.

PwC calculates almost a third (30%) of the reduction in corporation tax payments was down to the decrease in the statutory rate of corporation, with the remainder accounted for by the falling profits for oil and gas companies as oil production declined in the North Sea and costs and capital investment increased. Its calculations show that for every £1 of corporation tax paid, the UK's big firms now pay £2.86 in other taxes.

Kevin Nicholson, head of tax at PwC, said: 'It's not a surprise that for the first time corporation tax is not the largest tax paid by the UK's bigger employers. Looking at the full picture of tax paid by business, you see that tax on profits have fallen while taxes on labour and property have increased. This is a global trend. By cutting the corporation tax rate, the Government is becoming less dependent on profit related tax.'

The oil, gas and banking sectors continue to pay the most tax, contributing nearly half of the total. However, their contribution has declined since last year, and the proportion paid by the retail, insurance and telecoms sector has expanded.

Robin Freestone, chairman of the 100 Group, said: 'Government's rebalancing of business taxes away from corporation tax appears to have played a role in helping to incentivise increased levels of UK employment, as well as investment and research and development.'

PwC's research shows that taxes borne by the 100 Group have increased by 11% since 2005 when its study began. While corporation tax has fallen 40% over that timeframe, other taxes borne have risen by 70%.

The research also revealed that the 100 Group companies employ over 2.1m people in 2013 (7.2% of the UK workforce) who have seen an average wage increase of 2.5%; invested over £26bn in fixed assets (21.4% of UK business investment) and over £5bn in business Research and Development (31.1% of UK business R&D spend).

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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