Face­book Ir­ish tax bill was €38.3m as turnover jumped to €18.7bn

Irish Independent - Business Week - - FRONT PAGE - Gavin McLough­lin

FACE­BOOK has said it paid an ef­fec­tive tax rate of 15.5pc in Ire­land last year.

The so­cial me­dia’s Ir­ish arm de­clared a profit of €251.8m be­fore tax last year, up from €174.3m the year be­fore.

A to­tal of €38.3m of tax was paid, which in­cludes stan­dard cor­po­ra­tion tax, as well as the ef­fect of non-de­ductible ex­penses plus in­come taxed at a higher rate.

Turnover was €18.7bn, a near 50pc rise. The com­pany makes its money from sell­ing on­line ad­ver­tis­ing.

“As the home of our in­ter­na­tional head­quar­ters, Ire­land is an im­por­tant part of Face­book’s story and our con­tin­ued growth in 2017 demon­strated that,” said Face­book Ire­land boss Gareth Lambe.

“By the end of the year we’ll di­rectly em­ploy al­most 2,000 peo­ple across four sites in Ire­land work­ing on our fam­ily of apps in­clud­ing Face­book, In­sta­gram, What­sApp and Ocu­lus.

“We re­cently an­nounced that we are ex­pand­ing our in­vest­ment in Ire­land with the ac­qui­si­tion of the Bank Cen­tre cam­pus in Balls­bridge. This sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment in a 14-acre cam­pus with ca­pac­ity for thou­sands more peo­ple demon­strates our com­mit­ment to Ire­land, our de­sire to grow our busi­ness here and con­tinue to con­trib­ute to the econ­omy.”

The com­pany is also plan­ning to ex­pand a large data cen­tre in Clonee, Co Meath, with con­struc­tion work set to con­tinue into 2020.

At in­ter­na­tional level the com­pany is com­ing un­der in­creas­ing scru­tiny. Con­cerns over the so­cial me­dia gi­ant’s prac­tices, the role of po­lit­i­cal ad­verts and pos­si­ble for­eign in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 Brexit vote and US elec­tions are among the top­ics be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by Bri­tish and Euro­pean reg­u­la­tors.

“We’ve never seen any­thing quite like Face­book, where, while we were playing on our phones and apps, our demo­cratic in­sti­tu­tions... seem to have been up­ended by frat-boy bil­lion­aires from Cal­i­for­nia,” Cana­dian law­maker Char­lie An­gus said at a spe­cial in­ter­na­tional hear­ing at Bri­tain’s par­lia­ment.

“So Mr Zucker­berg’s de­ci­sion not to ap­pear here at West­min­ster (Bri­tain’s par­lia­ment) to me speaks vol­umes,” he

No show:

Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg failed to ap­pear at a spe­cial hear­ing in the Bri­tish par­lia­ment said, later sug­gest­ing Face­book could be bro­ken up to help ad­dress the is­sues.

Face­book says it com­plies with EU data pro­tec­tion laws, but Richard

Al­lan, the com­pany’s vice-pres­i­dent of pol­icy so­lu­tions who ap­peared in Mr Zucker­berg’s stead, ad­mit­ted it had made mis­takes.

“I’m not go­ing to dis­agree with you that we’ve dam­aged pub­lic trust through some of the ac­tions we’ve taken,” he said.

Face­book said last year that Rus­sian agents used its plat­form to spread dis­in­for­ma­tion be­fore and af­ter the 2016 US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, an ac­cu­sa­tion Moscow de­nies.

Ad­di­tional re­port­ing Reuters

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