Google have defended their UK tax-dodging practices following calls that they should pay a greater amount of tax in line with the wealth and earnings of the company.
Despite being valued at $268.4 billion (£176bn), Google have needed only pay £6 million in corporation tax for a year’s trading in the UK. In these times of austerity measures, many have called Google’s minuscule tax bill farcical. But the company’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt has justified their company’s accounting techniques on the basis that many UK businesses use UK services.
“Britain has been a very good market for us,” Schmidt told the BBC.
“We empower literally billions of pounds of start-ups through our advertising network and so forth. And we’re a key part of the electronic commerce expansion of Britain, which is driving a lot of economic growth for the country.”
Schmidt also wagged a finger at other big companies using similar tax-avoidance techniques, stating that they have to come under as much scrutiny as Google if at all:
“The same is true for British firms operating in the US, for example. II think the most important thing to say about our taxes is that we fully comply with the law and we’ll obviously, should the law change, we’ll comply with that as well.”
With both Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page worth around £15 billion each, the UK tax bill would look like pocket money even if coming out of their own wallets. But Schmidt has a point; until UK law is changed so as to prevent such exploitation, the likes of Google will milk the tax system for all its worth. Lobby your local MP if you want to see some changes – here’s a good guide to getting them to take notice of you and your concerns.