Green Party leader claims that fracking tax won’t be paid by offshore companies

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On Friday 10th November 2017 the co-leader of the Green Party visited the gas site at Kirby Misperton and gave a speech at the entrance. This story is going to run and run and gather moss as it goes. We will have how the police mistreated the leader of a political party and that all potential tax revenues will be lost as the company is offshore.
Here’s the video
https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.c.bartley/videos/1515865808504613/
First, we note that on several occasions the police asked him to move. He then sat down and was dragged away by the police.
He gave a normal green spiel but from 2.10ff he claimed “The Government is using tax payers’ money to subsidise tax-dodging frackers. All fossil fuel subsidies are unacceptable but to use tax breaks to help a company keeping its wealth in an offshore tax haven is obscene”, (cited from Left Foot Forward but what I transcribed too)
Clearly if this were so then Britain could lose billions in tax. That would be worrying and is an excellent scarestory
As was reported by an anti-fracking group

“The Government is using tax payers’ money to subsidise tax-dodging frackers. All fossil fuel subsidies are unacceptable but to use taxes to help a company keeping trillions of pounds of wealth in an offshore tax haven is beyond the pale. “Fracking is dirty, dangerous and unnecessary. It will destroy our climate commitments and leave us dependent on fossil fuel for years to come. The community in Kirby Misperton have made it clear they don’t want it here. Instead of overriding their wishes in its desperate dash for gas the Government should be investing in modern, clean energy for the future.”

Here are two reports repeating this
https://leftfootforward.org/2017/11/a-tax-dodging-fracking-company-is-about-to-start-drilling-in-yorkshire/

Here is an extract citing Bartley

Third Energy Holdings, the parent company of Third Energy which is set to start fracking in North Yorkshire within days, is registered in the Cayman Islands, making it exempt from UK corporation tax, it’s been revealed by the Green Party.
Fracking companies are already subsidised by taxpayers, enjoying a 50 per cent tax cut on early profits thanks to George Osborne’s 2013 budget — that these companies are trying to get out of paying even this is astounding.
“The Government is using tax payers’ money to subsidise tax-dodging frackers. All fossil fuel subsidies are unacceptable but to use tax breaks to help a company keeping its wealth in an offshore tax haven is obscene”, Jonathan Bartley, Green Party co-leader said today whilst visiting the site.

And also

https://leftinsider.uk/2017/11/10/a-tax-dodging-fracking-company-is-about-to-start-drilling-in-yorkshire/

Clearly this story will do the rounds. First, on how a leader of a political party was dragged away by the police. Secondly, the avoidance of tax by firms using tax-havens will pass into to the catalogue of fracking horrors, along with earthquakes, poisoned aquifers, health issues, cancer and climate change questions.
However the claims are simply false, as UKOOG tweeted soon afterwards Twitter 10/11/17 pm

ukoogbartley
For more information on tax regulations you can consult the Oil and Gas Authority page and follow the links
https://www.ogauthority.co.uk/exploration-production/taxation/overview/  

Here it goes to hmrc

https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/oil-taxation-manual/ot00020
This makes it clear that any taxes due from oil or gas production are made according to the locality of the well i.e. in Britain, rather than whether the operators are based in Britain, Cayman Islands, Russia or Timbuktu. This was brought in to ensure maximum tax revenues from North Sea Oil, by , asit were, taxing the well and not the company..
Here is a section of the HMRC page

The taxation of the UK oil industry: an overview: the current fiscal regime for oil and gas
The fiscal regime which currently applies to oil and gas exploration and extraction from the UK and the UK Continental Shelf consists of three elements.
• Petroleum Revenue Tax (PRT). This is a special tax on oil and gas production from the UK and UK Continental Shelf. It is a field based tax charged on profits arising from individual oil fields: It is not charged on the aggregate profits from all oil fields owned by each company. The current rate of PRT is 50%. PRT was abolished in FA93 for all fields given development consent on or after 16 March 1993. (See OT03500).
• Ring Fence Corporation Tax (RFCT) This is the standard corporation tax applicable to all companies (subject to some important modifications e.g. relating to capital allowances) with the addition of a ‘ring fence’. The ring fence prevents taxable profits from oil and gas extraction in the UK and UK Continental Shelf being reduced by losses from other activities (see OT21050) or by excessive interest payments (see OT22005). From the 1 April 2008 the main rate of corporation tax in the ring fence has been fixed at 30%.
• Supplementary Charge (SC) This is an additional charge originally set at 10% on a company’s ring fence profits excluding finance costs. The supplementary charge was introduced from 17 April 2002 (see OT21200). The supplementary charge was increased to 20% for APs beginning on or after 1 January 2006 and 32% from 24 March 2011.

 

note that it says “It is a field based tax charged on profits arising from individual oil fields:”

To put it simply, all gas being produced from Kirby Misperton, Preston New Road or anywhere else will be taxed at the going rate.
It is unbelievable that someone who should be well-informed about all Green issues, including fracking, should come out with such a false claim.
I hope he apologises and publically withdraws his false accusations.

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2 thoughts on “Green Party leader claims that fracking tax won’t be paid by offshore companies

  1. Paul Braterman

    Three comments:

    1) If you sit down when asked to move from a place where you have no right to be, you should expect to be dragged away (though with minimum reasonable force). Ritual lawbreaking loses its moral force if you complain about the legal consequences. I remember Bertrand Russell in 1961 choosing to go to prison rather than to be bound over

    2) I’m glad to hear that such a tax regime is in place for fossil fuel extraction. Sounds easy. Let’s do it for everything. Tax sellers and service providers based on delivery addresses.

    3) I am not surprised at further evidence that the English Green Party disdain reality. AFAIK, the Scottish Greens are somewhat better although their positions on fracking and GMOs are deplorable

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