Feeds

UK MPs tell Google: Get back here and bring your auditors with you

Choc Factory and E&Y to be hauled in front of PAC next week

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

The UK's Public Accounts Committee has said that it will be hauling Google and its auditor Ernst & Young back in front of MPs to answer further questions about its paltry British tax bills.

The PAC said on its website that Matt Brittin, Google veep for sales and ops in Northern and Central Europe and John Dixon, head of tax at Ernst & Young would both be recalled to give evidence on Thursday next week.

The decision comes after a Reuters investigation claimed there were "inconsistencies" in how Google portrays its activities in Britain.

Brittin told the PAC that UK workers provided sales, marketing and R&D support to Google's European HQ in Dublin. However, the investigation pointed to job ads, endorsements on LinkedIn and the firm's website which all suggested employees in Britain were actually negotiating deals themselves. If the PAC finds that Google is making sales in the UK, then the ad giant is liable for tax on deals closed by its London-based staff.

PAC chair and Labour MP Margaret Hodge said last week that both Google and its auditor Ernst & Young would be recalled. The auditor's John Dixon told the committee that his beancounters strolled around the offices of clients to check on what clients' staff were doing. Hodge said that there were questions about whether the firms had been "wholly open".

Google said that the Reuters report was "wilfully misleading".

"As we told them in our statement, Matt Brittin clearly explained the roles of UK staff in hours of evidence to the Public Accounts Committee," a spokesperson spluttered indignantly.

"He said ‘if [customers] want to buy advertising from us they are encouraged to do so by our people in the UK - they will buy it from our expert team in Dublin... the people on the ground [in the UK] are helping people make the most of the web and the people in Ireland are helping to operate the systems and sell advertising to the businesses that want to work with us'."

The committee has not found any actual legal wrongdoing on the part of any of the firms, including Amazon and Starbucks, it's grilled so far, although it has said that the multinationals' behaviour has been "immoral". While tax evasion is illegal, tax avoidance is entirely legal. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
UK.gov chucks £28m at F1 tech for buses and diggers plan
Well, not really F1 but who's heard of LMP and VLN*?
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.