Starbucks Corporation: Tax Avoidance Controversies in the United Kingdom (A), (B)
An investigative report into corporate tax avoidance prompts an increasingly powerful citizen’s group to target Starbucks’ UK operation. Starbucks faces numerous sit-ins and boycotts throughout the UK. Increasing public outcry grabs the attention of Parliament, which summons Starbucks’ CFO Tony Alstead to come testify. Austerity measures and complex international tax laws further complicate the matter. As a corporation that prides itself on social responsibility, Starbucks must decide between their duty to minimize tax liabilities (for shareholders) and their promise to serve the communities where they do business.
- To examine the precarious balance between a corporation's social responsibility to the community in which it operates and its obligation to its shareholders;
- To explore how international corporations operate differently from market to market depending on local rules and regulations;
- To assess how a corporation should respond to international government summons and requests for financial information;
- To examine how a corporation with a large retail footprint should react to planned public protests and boycotts;
- To encourage discussion regarding corporations obeying the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law.