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Shell pays net U.K. taxes for first time in four years

Posted by John Donovan: 21 November 2023

In a plot twist that would make Charles Dickens do a double take, Shell PLC, the bigwig of Big Oil, has actually paid UK corporate taxes for the first time since… well, since they started telling us about it four years ago. Thanks to a windfall levy (think of it as a ‘surprise, you’re rich!’ tax), Shell had to part with a whopping US$40.5 million. Let’s put that in perspective: It’s like a billionaire finding a tenner in their coat pocket.

From Tax Credits to Tax Cheques: A Shell-Shocking Turnaround

For four years, Shell played a game of ‘catch me if you can’ with the UK taxman, racking up tax credits for playing in the North Sea and tidying up old oil platforms. But in 2022, the UK government played its trump card – the Energy Profits Levy, turning Shell’s tax credits into actual tax payments.

Global Profits Sky-High, UK Taxes Just Taking Off

Globally, Shell was laughing all the way to the bank with a profit of US$64.8 billion. But their UK tax bill? Just a drop in the ocean. Even with the UK’s windfall tax, Shell’s UK tax bill was peanuts compared to the banquet they paid in Norway and Oman.

Windfall Taxes: A Storm in a Teacup for Shell?

Following Russia’s uninvited visit to Ukraine, several countries decided to skim a bit off the top of oil giants’ profits. Shell, looking at over US$1 billion in windfall taxes, probably isn’t sweating too much. They’ve paid some, and the rest? Well, they’re in no hurry.

Bahama Mama: Shell’s Tax-Free Paradise

Meanwhile, Shell’s making it rain in the Bahamas – US$1.55 billion in profits, and not a penny in corporate tax. The reason? The Bahamas doesn’t bother with such trifles for international business companies. Shell insists it’s all above board, but it does make you wonder.

Big Oil’s Secret Recipe for Profit: The Mysterious Trading Business

Shell, like a magician who never reveals his tricks, keeps mum about how much they rake in from trading. But whispers suggest it’s a pretty penny.

So, there you have it. Shell, usually as tax-shy as a cat in water, finally paid up in the UK, but it’s just a tiny blip on their financial radar. As for the rest of us? Well, we keep paying our taxes the old-fashioned way.

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