5 Big tech firms avoid up to £1bn tax per year

The Mirror has estimated that up to £1 billion in UK tax was avoided last year by five of the worlds biggest tech firms.

They have examined the accounts of Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay and Apple, looked at reported UK revenues and tax paid and compared the tax paid with what would have been due if all the UK sales had been booked in the UK. All five companies claim to comply with UK tax laws (and indeed the tax laws of every country they operate in).

Since Google agreed to pay £130 million in back taxes in a deal which HMRC apparently said was what they owed after an audit going back over six year’s accounts there has been uproar. It’s not helped by the revelation that Google may pay up to three times as much to the French tax collector despite the UK being a much bigger market for Google.

There are accusations that HMRC and the Chancellor settled for far too low an amount, with the Public Accounts Committee, Treasury Committee and National Audit Office all poised to investigate the deal and demand details of how the amount of tax due was reached.

Others take a more prosaic view with London Mayor Boris Johnson calling it “absurd” to blame Google and other multinational corporations for avoiding UK tax. He points out that successive governments have set tax legislation and you can’t blame companies for using tax laws the country put in place.