Amazon and Google to face more MP questions

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“HMRC has an exemplary record in relentlessly challenging those who avoid tax. We have recovered £34bn in additional revenues from large businesses in the last seven years”.
– Jim Harra, HMRC’s director-general for business tax’s response after High Court action where HMRC admitted errors with Goldman Sachs tax affairs but the High Court confirmed that they made the correct settlement in the circumstances.

Public Finance Commitee question Amazon Starbucks and GoogleI’d love to know what MP’s think of the HMRC director-general’s comment as they prepare to haul Amazon back to Parliament to answer more questions to the public accounts committee. The Guardian contend that Amazon are advertising for job vacancies and negotiating contracts from their Slough offices which would suggest it’s a sales operation. Amazon previously claimed that all sales go through their Luxembourg company.

It’s not just Amazon either, Google are also being recalled to answer more questions along with their tax auditors Ernst & Young. Google says sales are through Ireland but described their London offices as a base for sales teams and advertised dozens of London-based sales vacancies.

I’m confused – either our MPs have been sadly mislead by their advisors and briefs, or they’ve not bothered to do any basic research themselves. Let’s be honest everyone knows that Google and Amazon and eBay and a whole load of other International companies have sales and marketing teams in the UK. Everyone knows that billing for services through Luxembourg, Irish and Swiss companies is a pure tax avoidance ruse. Why do our MPs fail to grasp that simple fact or if they have why bother questioning the companies again?

Interestingly there’s no indication that Starbucks are being recalled to face further questions from MPs. Perhaps their £20 million tax “donation” was enough to avoid further questions. If so that’s deplorable as tax shouldn’t be voluntary, it should be paid according to the letter of the law, no more and no less.

Are HMRC is doing a sterling job of collecting all taxes due from large companies or are they failing miserably? Are our MPs are bright as a button and refusing to be hoodwinked by these companies, or are they incredibly gullible, didn’t previously do the slightest bit of investigation and took everything they were told at face value?

You decide.

One Response

  1. It`s ironic that most UK SME`s play taxation with a straight bat whilst some of the bigger overseas corporations appear to blatantly work the system.
    Competing against the bigger boys is tough enough without any added disadvatage of tax avoidance should this be the case.
    Let`s hope HMRC finally conclude this matter once and for all and confirm whether foul play is afoot. Whether users of such services would then veto such companies under protest in favour of UK businesses – well this remains to be seen.

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