It may be true that Google’s UK operation only supports its companies in Ireland and the US, but this is entirely to avoid paying tax on the money the firm makes from the UK.
Like all such multinationals, it should be taxed on the money it takes from business transactions with UK citizens – but that isn’t even the issue here.
The fact is that Google’s business, here in the UK, should pay far more tax than George Osborne is charging, even under the current rules.
M. Sapin is quite correct to question Osborne’s decision. Let us look forward to a full investigation by the European Commission.
Michel Sapin said HMRC’s settlement, which allows Google to continue booking £5bn of UK sales via Ireland, “seems more the product of a negotiation than the application of the law”.
His intervention on Tuesday will add force to widespread accusations that Britain’s tax settlement amounts to a sweetheart deal for Google.
According to the Financial Times, Sapin told a conference in Paris: “The French tax administration does not negotiate the amount of taxes owed. It applies the rules.”
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, became the world’s most valuable company after the US markets opened on Tuesday. Shares rose after it was announced overnight that 2015 revenues grew by 13% to $75bn (£52bn), while the group’s global tax rate fell to just 17%.
Google’s UK company, which the search group insists only provides support services to companies in Ireland and the US, paid £21m in tax in 2013, according to its latest published accounts.
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