Coca-Cola to pay tax shock, but big questions remain about Olympic tax swindle

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Coca-Cola to pay tax shock, but big questions remain about Olympic tax swindle

According to Britain’s New Statesman magazine: “On Wednesday McDonald’s bowed to furious online petitioners, saying that the revenue from the games would only make up 0.1 per cent of annual sales in the UK. Hours later, Coca Cola also conceded and made a statement on their website to pay their fair share of tax during the Games.”
And quite right too.  But why should this be left to the discretion of companies facing the wrath of public opinion.  What was going through the heads of the politicians who conceded the Olympic tax haven status in the first place?  And why has sport become such a powerful political force that it can force through these totally unnecessary tax exemptions in the first place?  As the New Statesman comments:

“. . tax exemption is far from unknown in the Olympic world; in fact, such legislations have long since been endemic to the Games for years. Usain Bolt is just one of the big-name athletes who has pushed tax exemption rules to be adopted by hosting countries.”

Can anyone provide a single good reason why highly paid athletes should not pay tax?  And why profitable corporations should not contribute towards the massive cost of hosting the Olympics in London?

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Donagh is the editor of Irish Left Review. Contact Donagh through email:

One Response

  1. Pax

    July 20, 2012 4:32 pm

    Usain Bolt is a case in point as to why highly paid athletes should pay tax. Even without taxation there is no moral argument as to why they should receive remuneration hundreds of times more than an average wage. Nevermind evading part of that in tax avoidance.

    The genetic lottery is no more fair than the inheritance lottery. No amount of eating, running and weight lifting will give an average individual the frame, muscle position and muscle weight as an athlete like Bolt.

    Why should someone who is the fortunate owner of this trait, earn so much more than someone less gifted yet who works as hard and sacrifices as much?