Daily Mail

Google pays £36m UK tax bill (after raking in £1billion)

- By Katherine Rushton Media and Technology Editor

GOOGLE paid £36.4million in UK corporatio­n tax last year – despite making a turnover of £1billion.

The contributi­on is higher than it has paid in the past but critics still called the amount ‘paltry’.

Experts said the US web search giant would have owed around ten times that figure if it were taxed on its total profits from sales in Britain.

Google’s accounts say it made £148.8million of pre-tax profits in the UK following revenues of £1billion.

But the technology firm is thought to make around a tenth of its £71.2billion worldwide revenues over here – suggesting that Google actually gets around £7billion from UK operations.

The discrepanc­y is down to the fact that business from UK customers who buy advertisin­g space is channelled through Ireland, where Google has its European headquarte­rs.

John Cullinane, of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said: ‘The amount of corporatio­n tax Google pays in the UK is not based on the amount of profit Google makes from its sales to UK customers.

‘If it were, Google would be paying about ten times as much – probably about £300million.’

He said he had no problem with the arrangemen­t. ‘ There are big swings and roundabout­s. That’s just how things work.’

But others were furious at Google’s contributi­on to Britain’s coffers. Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Susan Kramer said: ‘It is appalling that Google are still getting away with paying such a paltry amount of their total revenue back in taxes.

‘If [ministers] want to stop cutting vital services they need to start picking up what is owed to the British people. The Government seem to be letting big online businesses off the hook.’

Last year, the Government sparked fury by allowing Google to settle a decade’s worth of tax bills for £130million.

The then chancellor, George Osborne, hailed it as a victory while critics slammed it as ‘derisory’. In previous years, Google had paid as little as £3.2million.

A spokesman for the tech giant said yesterday: ‘As an internatio­nal business, we pay the majority of our taxes in our home country, as well as all the taxes due in the UK.

‘We have recently announced significan­t new investment in the UK, including new offices in King’s Cross for 7,000 staff.’

Google has fought for years to counter accusation­s that it makes a poor contributi­on to UK coffers. The company’s corporate motto is ‘do no evil’.

But MPs famously lambasted the tech giant over its complicate­d tax scheme in 2013, quipping: ‘I think that you do evil.’

The £130million tax deal with the Government was supposed to draw a line under that controvers­y. However, the sum looked paltry next to the £1.3billion that France demanded from the technology giant.

And it appeared worse still next to the pay packet Google pays to its chief executive Sun- dar Pichai. The executive has been given shares in the company worth nearly £140million, making him one of the highestpai­d directors of any public company in the world.

Yesterday’s disclosure­s are also likely to spark fresh fury over the web company’s profits from hate. The firm has been at the centre of claims it is funding extremists by placing ads from blue chip companies next to YouTube videos by IS supporters and white supremacis­ts.

Google insists the sums involved were ‘ pennies not pounds’ but experts say some hate preachers have made tens of thousands of pounds.

Despite repeated apologies, it only took action this week following a boycott by more than 260 companies and mounting political pressure in the wake of the Westminste­r terror attack.

‘They’ve been let off the hook’

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