Google accused of 'immoral' tax policies by funnelling revenues
House of Commons MPs have accused Google of “immoral” tax policies by funnelling revenues to operations in Ireland and the Bahamas, though the company insisted that it has a duty to shareholders to keep tax bills low.
Google UK’s chief executive and vice-president of the company’s European operation Matt Brittin told the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee: “We think we do it in a way that’s appropriate; it’s certainly legal.”
Chairwoman Margaret Hodge of Labour replied: “We aren’t accusing you of being illegal; we are accusing you of being immoral.”
Meanwhile, internet retailer Amazon was savaged after a senior executive was accused of “feigning ignorance” about its efforts to cut its UK tax bill. Clearly furious with Amazon executive Andrew Cecil, Mrs Hodge said he had come seeking only to “pretend ignorance”.
Amazon, which pays VAT in Luxembourg, was joined for the Commons appearance by Google and Starbucks, which was recently shown to have to paid less than £9 million in corporation tax over the last 14 years to the Inland Revenue.
During an excruciatingly difficult session, Mr Cecil said the US-founded multinational employs 500 people at its European HQ in Luxembourg, even though it has a 15,000-strong workforce in the UK.