If the US government wishes me to stand trial for anything it so chooses me to stand trial for, I will be arrested and compelled to attend court.
For example: If I choose to pay 0.0005% income tax this year, I expect by the end of the year I will be wearing a particularly fetching orange jumpsuit in one of the US government's many fine custodial establishments.
Claiming that all of your Starbucks establishments aren't making any profits (and hence don't need to pay any taxes) when what's actually going on is that you're making sh1ttons of profits, opening several stores a week, reporting to your shareholders how well you're doing, but are cleverly selling your UK/US companies coffeebeans from an office in Switzerland at $20 a bean to trick the tax man isn't valid tax accounting.
You think I could get away with saying to the US government "Oh, I didn't earn any money this year. I was paid in magical rent vouchers which I exchange with my landlord who is paid by my company through some opaque bank account in the Cayman Islands in some clever deal to avoid me having to pay tax on the rent that I would otherwise need to pay" that that would wash with the US government? Of course not. That would be "go to jail" time for me for tax evasion.
If you're a company, you should pay taxes on your profits - the tax system is actually quite specific on this. Pretending that you didn't make profits in this country when you clearly did by doing opaque accounting isn't optimising your taxes, or making use of tax schemes that government put there to encourage other parts of the economy. It's deceptive, it's fraudulent, and it requires straightforwardly misleading the tax authorities about how your business is structured for the sole purpose of avoiding tax. It's tax evasion, not tax avoidance. And it's legal only because it's hard to prosecute, not because it's what the lawmakers think is reasonable. And CFOs that take part in this sorry game should be spending time behind bars.
The reason this pisses me off isn't because I want to punish big companies, or think they're evil. It's that I think it's not fair for small businesses and entrepreneurs to have to pay tax at full rate (or go to jail) whilst working opposite a multinational that can't be bothered to pay tax.
We should be encouraging small businesses. Not giving them a 20% tax penalty compared with their multinational competitors. It's criminal that we allow this to continue.