Big tobacco companies are paying a ‘pitiful’ amount of corporation tax on billions of pounds of profits, leaving UK taxpayers to pick up the tab for the enormous costs smoking adds to the National Health Service and the economy, according to a story in The Independent citing new research.

Researchers at the University of Bath were said to have found that Imperial Brands, British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco International had shifted their corporate structures to minimise their UK tax bills.

The authors have demanded a tobacco-industry levy to ensure companies pay for the costs associated with their products.

‘Despite being headquartered in Britain, Imperial paid an effective rate of just 13 percent over the past seven years, during which corporation tax has varied between 20 percent and 28 percent,’ the story said.

‘BAT is also based in the UK but paid “virtually no” corporation tax over the same period, including four consecutive years (2011-14) where it paid nothing at all, the paper found.’

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