Marmite and Dove soap maker Unilever facing allegations that it underpaid hundreds of millions of pounds in tax
Marmite and Dove soap maker Unilever is facing allegations that it underpaid hundreds of millions of pounds in tax.
Bosses at the Anglo-Dutch giant are challenging the claim, but admit that it could cost the firm up to €600 million (£550million).
The dispute with Revenue & Customs comes after FTSE100-listed Unilever – which makes a huge range of consumer goods including Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Magnum ice creams – abandoned a plan to ditch its UK headquarters.
A bad taste: Marmite maker Unilever is thought to be confident it can bat away the allegations
It is alleged that Unilever owes the taxman money because its Dutch arm had a ‘permanent establishment’ in the UK, meaning it should have paid more tax here. Unilever ‘strongly disagrees with the positions taken by the UK tax authorities’.
The company is thought to be confident it can bat away the allegations because its tax arrangements have been unchallenged by the UK for many years.
As well as having listings in London and Amsterdam, Unilever has one headquarters in the UK capital and another in Rotterdam. The structure has existed since 1930 when Dutch margarine company Unie merged with British soap maker Lever Brothers.
In 2018, it attempted to make Rotterdam its sole HQ and Euronext Amsterdam its primary stock market listing. But it abandoned the move amid opposition from politicians, the media and investors.
Unilever declined to comment. HMRC did not comment on the case.