Google: Thanks for the billions in revenue, UK. Here are your taxes, that's ... £11m
But we're spending a mint on our King's Cross sales HQ!
Google paid Britain £11.2m in corporation tax in 2012, the company confirmed today.
That's slightly more than the £7.3m the ad giant coughed up in 2011.
But the latest figure, confirmed by Google to The Register this afternoon, will no doubt enrage the search king's critics - including Labour MP and Parliament's Public Accounts Committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge.
That's because Google's British sales offices channel billions of pounds in revenue to its European headquarters in Ireland to legally skirt around Blighty's taxmen. This allows the global web giant to minimise profits that are subject to UK corporation tax, set at 23 per cent.
According to its latest accounts for 2012 - as reported by the Financial Times - Google pulled in pre-tax profits of £36.8m on turnover of £506m in Blighty. During the same 12-month period the year before, the multinational reported a loss before tax of £20.7m on £395.8m of turnover.
Judging by the FT's numbers, Google paid a third of its pre-tax UK profit into the nation's coffers in 2012.
But over in Ireland, revenue climbed by roughly 25 per cent year on year to €15.5bn (£12.95bn) for 2012. The Pink 'Un noted that the multinational company charged its Euro HQ "admin expenses" to the tune of nearly €11bn - including royalties to tax-haven Bermuda where Google Ireland Holdings is registered. That holdings outfit owns the intellectual property used by Google Ireland, we're told.
These charges virtually wiped out profits in Ireland, leaving the Irish wing paying the Emerald Isle's taxmen just €17m in corporation tax in 2012.
The FT reckons the UK accounts for $4.9bn (£3bn) of Google's revenue. Overall, the company paid $358m (£221m, €265m) in foreign taxes on overseas profits of more than $8bn (£4.95bn, €5.9bn) for the year, which translates to an efficient or greedy - depending on where you stand on such matters - corporation tax rate of less than five per cent.
The company has previously defended its tax arrangements in the UK by claiming that it helps the British economy by hiring staff here, who in turn pay taxes to the government. When payroll taxes and VAT are included, Google has claimed its total contribution to the UK last year stood at £156.1m. It has also added that it is spending $1bn (£620m) over the next few years on its new "groundscraper" in London's King's Cross. ®
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