Caffe Nero skips potential £4.4million bill after not paying corporation tax

Caffe Nero has not paid a bean in corporation tax in the past 12 years, skipping a potential £4.4million bill.

The UK-based coffee chain made £23million profit in the year to May.

But its potential tax bill was wiped out by hefty interest which its parent company paid on its £350million of debt, amassed when founder Gerry Ford took it private in 2007.

The firm said private equity mogul Mr Ford, 62, and other shareholders haven’t taken a dividend since it was founded in 1997.

Yet he lives in a £5million mansion in London’s Chelsea and Kensington.

Newly published accounts for Nero Holdings show the chain’s revenues grew 4.8% to £292million. It has paid £71.2million in other taxes, including VAT and ­business rates.

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But £26million of interest pushed the wider Nero Group, which also owns the Harris & Hall chain, into making a £30million loss.

The company, which has 663 UK stores and 5,500 staff, said: “Caffe Nero has always paid and will continue to pay all applicable taxes in the UK.”

 TaxWatch group director George Turner said: “It is simply not credible that the group has made a loss for 12 years.

“Caffe Nero is a coffee shop, not a charity. If the UK accounts were a true reflection of the group’s real profitability, it is hard to see how it could survive in the UK, and yet it is thriving.”

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