Letter to Ms Lin Homer, Chief Executive HM Revenue & Customs on Tax Avoidance

Tax abuse is wrong. And Medact believes it should be considered a national public health problem.

But the rules of the international banking, trade and finance systems are rigged to allow corporations to get away with illegitimate and unacceptable tax avoidance.

Help us to put pressure on Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) by entering your details below and signing this petition.

We are asking HMRC to investigate the legitimacy of Alliance Boots’ tax practices and also to close down dubious loopholes used by other multinational corporations to avoid paying tax.

Dear Ms. Homer,

We write to you as health professionals expressing our concern about the scale of illegitimate tax avoidance conducted by multinational corporations operating in the UK. While this has received widespread media and parliamentary attention, we do not feel it has resulted in adequate action.

As health professionals we are especially concerned about tax avoidance conducted by companies operating within the NHS. In particular, we would like to raise questions about Alliance Boots.

According to research and analysis conducted by War on Want, it is estimated that Alliance Boots has avoided paying taxes worth £1.21bn since 2007. This is particularly galling because the company receives over 40% of its revenue from the NHS (a tax-funded institution) in the form of prescription dispensing and wholesale services[1].

Alliance Boots’ tax avoidance was enabled through deduction of interest expenses associated with the company’s leveraged buyout in 2007, which was funded with £9 billion in debt[2]

As health professionals who are aware of the damaging effects of public budgets cuts to the NHS, we would like to request that HMRC investigate the legality and ethics of Alliance Boots’ tax practices with specific reference to:

    1. Whether the company’s advisers or advisers to the Leveraged Buyout (LBO) were under any obligation to report avoidance schemes.
    2. Use made by Alliance Boots of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) and tax havens.

We, the undersigned, would be grateful for a response to our letter at your earliest convenience.

Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,



[1] Alliance Boots’ revenues from dispensing prescription drugs are £2.2 billion and revenue from wholesale sales to independent pharmacies are an estimated £2.04 billion. See Alliance Boots’ annual results 2013/14, p. 28 & p. 78 & ‘Alliance Boots: The Tax Gap’ – http://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/tax-justice-now/18010-boots-billion-pound-tax-dodge-report

[2] ‘Alliance Boots: The Tax Gap’


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