mattwnz: ...In a way you have to wonder why, because paying tax is giving back to your country to support it's infrastructure, health, and less fortunate.
I am a firm believer in people/companies paying taxes and paying their fair share, and not using accountants/lawyers to look for tax minimisation.
There are two reasons that come to mind as to why companies pay accountants and lawyers.
One is to pay only that tax which is legally required of them and that is only being responsible (after all, how many of the complainers here volunteerily pay tax that is not required of them?), they do not do so to defraud the public. Cash that does not go in tax can only be used in two ways: company growth, renewal and security (this, I would of thought, is a worthwhile reason) and to distribute as dividend. If doing so means they also have more cash they choose to distribute as dividends, then as I was at pains to point out in my last post these will be passed to the shareholders with imputation credits and the shareholder will pay tax at his marginal tax rate (which will likely be higher than the company tax rate) on the balance and so the profits end up indeed taxed.
The other reason is due to the complexity of company taxes and the high costs if one gets it wrong or the IRD claims one got it wrong: both of which frequently happen, even in the best run companies.
In the case mentioned by bradi, as to profits distributed out of the country I think most people accept that those that invest in NZ are entitled to a return on that investment. In the same way, the many NZ companies and individuals who invest in overseas countries (an obvious big example is Fonterra) are entitled to a return on those investments.
The alternative is an insular economy divorced from the international environment. Probably the only two significant countries most like that are North Korea and Cuba both of which I would hope we do not mimic. In the first year of this century NZ proclaimed an intention to becoming a "non-aligned" one, but which as was eventually discovered to mean "no friends" and was one contribution to a capital flight out of the country (including that of some of our own corporate tax residents) at that time.