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Google allegedly avoided £150m in UK tax in 2012

Firm paid £11.6m tax on £3.5bn
Tue Oct 01 2013, 12:06
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INTERNET GIANT Google has come under fire again for its UK tax arrangements after it was revealed on Sunday that the firm paid just £11.6m in corporation tax on UK sales of £3.5bn in 2012. 

Google's numbers are a bit confusing. While the firm revealed that it earned pre-tax profits of £37m on a turnover of £506m, it's annual report doesn't quite match. Instead, the report shows that the UK accounted for 11 percent of Google's global revenues of $55bn in 2012.

The company's accounts show that the firm paid a tax rate of 2.6 percent on non-US income in 2012, because it designates its UK operation as primarily marketing with its Irish operation taking most of the profits, with these profits being channelled to a subsidiary in Bermuda.

Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK said in a statement that by accounting for its operations in the UK that way Google might have reduced its tax bill by around £150m last year.

Google has been quick to defend its UK tax arrangements, saying that it works the same way as other multinational companies and follows tax rules.

In a statement a Google spokesman said, "Like most multinationals we pay the bulk of our £1.2bn corporate tax bill where our business originated, in our case the US. That's a rate of more than 19 percent, roughly what a UK based company must pay."

"We are also a significant contributor to the UK economy, having created over 2,000 jobs."

This isn't the first time Google that has come under scrutiny regarding the amount of tax it pays in the UK. In August last year it came under fire for paying just £6m in tax on revenues of £3.95bn.

As pointed out by Sky, "The Public Accounts Committee called for an HMRC investigation amid evidence from apparent whistleblowers while a Reuters investigation alleged that Google's UK staff were responsible for sales rather than marketing as the company has always insisted." µ


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