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High income taxes could prompt British beverages company to move

Here in the United States we keep hearing about how our corporate tax system makes it hard for businesses to compete globally. The U.S. corporate income tax rates, say executives and politicians, are just too darn high.

Guess what? Businesses are singing a similar tune across the pond.

Diageo, a leading maker of adult beverages, is threatening to relocate overseas if the United Kingdom keeps its 50 percent income tax rate.

This time, though, the company is concerned about individual, not business, taxes.

"I believe the 50 percent tax rate will lead to the long-term damage to this nation's competitive edge," said Walsh.

The big problem for the Brent, England-based maker of Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Baileys just to name a few, is hiring and keeping top executives at the company.

Diageo booze brands2

The money that Diageo offers for these corporate slots is good, but the employees don't like paying England's high personal income taxes.

"We will not be able to base people here and increasingly we will have to look at locating our quality people in lower tax jurisdictions," said Walsh.

Of course, moving staff to other countries with lower taxes wouldn't hurt Diageo either.

"If I employ staff in Singapore with a 10 percent tax rate, I don't have to pay them as much for them to feel good and to go home with more money," said Walsh.

That's certainly something that the Diageo accountants can raise a glass to toast!

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