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

Mobile application security vulnerability report

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. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.