Following the recent news that Google paid £44 million in corporation tax, falling from £66 million in 2018, with MP's, industry experts and tax campaigners criticising the figures, Miles Dean, Head of International Tax at Andersen Tax UK offers his opinion on Google’s corporation tax and other contributions
"It's as if campaigners and MP's have been living in a parallel universe since the great post global financial crisis tax debate of yesteryear. The focus should never simply be on the amount of corporation tax a multinational pays, because that is far too simplistic. There are many other taxes that a multinational corporation pays, or generates, such as PAYE, VAT, business rates, NICs and so forth.
The share awards alone will contribute significant income tax from the employees and employees will have more money to spend, generating VAT.
The claim that Google is writing its own tax laws is puerile. Either the Tax Justice Network are blissfully unaware of the complexity of the tax rules applicable to the likes of Google, or they simply choose not to properly engage with this. If they did properly engage, they would see that Google's contribution to the economy is much more than its corporation tax bill. They would also see that Google has a choice where it bases its European sales operations – Ireland – and that those functions are genuinely carried on from there. They would also acknowledge that Google is spending £1bn on its KX "Landscraper" HQ, generating employment for 1000's of employees and countless third parties.
To ignore this is to ignore reality – more fool them."