In October 2012, Starbucks UK branch became the subject of massive public criticism over alleged tax avoidance. Despite Starbucks arguing that its transfer pricing practices were in full compliance with regulation, public pressure led Starbucks to overpay its UK taxes on international transfer pricing beyond the regulatory requirements. This behaviour contradicts the current literature in which international transfer pricing is portrayed as a tool for aggressive tax management or an exercise of regulatory compliance. It is further argued that boards and top management of multinational enterprises (MNEs) can no longer approach tax governance as a purely technical, regulation-driven discipline to be addressed only by accounting staff and tax consultants. Instead, its pivotal role in the social contract between an MNE and its stakeholders needs to be recognised.
- Tax governance
- International transfer pricing
- Tax avoidance
- Multinational enterprises
- Business ethics
- Corprate social responsibility
- Legitimacy processes