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Utility company Thames Water‘s profits increased by an enormous 79% last year. However, once again the London based firm did not pay any Corporation Tax despite making a pre-tax profit of £259 million.
Thames Water, who increased customer bills earlier this year, received a tax credit of £87 million for the year to the end of March. The company’s finance director defended the lack of corporation tax by stating that the company’s capital spending was up to £1 billion last year and will rise to over that this year. He also said that the energy sector reached an agreement with HMRC that concrete water tanks attract capital allowances.
The spokesman also pointed out that the largest tax credit of £132 million reflected the Government’s reduction in corporation tax from 23% to 20% which means that the amount the company will pay on deferred tax will be less than it originally provided.
Under rules provided by the regulator Ofwat, the spokesman said that tax credit should help to cut customer bills in the future. Last year, the company said that it was unlikely it would pay any Corporation Tax for ten years, however this is now more likely to be around six or seven. He added that Thames Water does not receive a refund from HMRC for any of the tax credits and will start paying the deferred tax eventually.
In the past, unions, MPs and the regulator Ofwat have criticised Thames Water for avoiding Corporation Tax. The company’s revenue increased by 8.5% last year, an increase which the company said was largely a result of increasing its prices.
On top of this, shareholders in Thames Water received 100 million in dividends and interest payments, an increase from last year.
The company said it had been subject to unfair media attention and scrutiny on its financial structure, but they are committed to being straightforward and transparent in all aspects of its operations.