Google to face UK parliament a second time on allegations of tax avoidance

Introduction: A second committee grilling on avoidance of taxes is set for Google’s Senior Executives.

Summoning senior executives of Google to face Members of Parliament once again, the Committee on Public Accounts in the UK is set to grill anew the large multinational company on allegations that it had purposely avoided paying taxes to the UK government. Back in November last year, Google Vice-President for Northern Europe Matt Brittin had appeared before the same committee to testify that his company’s sales teams were all situated in Ireland, leaving the company’s UK staff to only perform marketing of Google as  an advertising extension. This variation in structure ultimately enabled the company to avoid taxes by paying only £6 million of taxes to the UK government on £2.6 billion it had gotten as profits in 2011. News agency Reuters however, performed investigation that found how Google’s UK-based staff have actually promoted and closed sales of the multinational firm’s advertising space to its clients. The news agency facilitated its investigations through interviews done on several Google customers, aside from working with former Google employees and checking out various job postings and data on the firm’s LinkedIn site. By virtue of the company’s having negotiated and concluded deals in London, the argument that its sales teams were all based in Ireland was indefensible and only constituted avoidance of taxes, since it was clear from invoice addresses that all the people involved are located in the UK. These allegations of avoidance of taxes are serious enough to warrant a second grilling by the MPs and greater depth of investigations into account balances, names and addresses with tax authorities in British overseas territories.

Conclusion: With exhaustive investigation into allegations of avoidance of taxes, a more complicated web of involvement may yet be uncovered.