The Treasury Select Committee plans to quiz Google directors about their extremely low corporation tax bills in recent years, totalling £14 million over the 7-year period 2005 to 2011, of which £6 million relates to 2011. According to Global Tax News, the company’s UK turnover for 2011 was £395 million, which is oddly irrelevant information, as companies pay corporation tax on profit, not turnover.
Labour MP and TSC member John Mann appears in no doubt about what is going on:
“It is entirely immoral, this is a company avoiding its obligations and we are letting them get away with doing it.”
but I do think we need to know more before we condemn Google out of hand for large scale tax avoidance. A Google appearance before the Treasury Select Committee would be an ideal means of ensuring that we know more, although taxpayer confidentiality issues might well be a problem here. Watch this space.