Google's tax bill was £36m last year

The company said it has paid what is due, even though there's a £5 billion discrepancy in sales vs. turnover

Google's tax bill totalled 36 million in 2016, according to its accounts for the year - although the government still doesn't think it's paying what is owed in this country.

The company took on an additional 600 staff last year, taking its total workforce up to 3,000 in the country, but as many of those staff members are employed as part of its product development and marketing services, the tax rules are slightly different compared to a wholly operated company based over here.

That is what the government thinks is unfair when compared to other companies that fully disclose their business as operating on our shores.

Google's parent company, Alphabet, show sales of 6 billion in the UK, but said it had turnover of just 1 billion. That 5 billion discrepancy is what's causing all the commotion, because most of its sales are recorded in Ireland, where tax rates are lower compared to the UK.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

"As an international business, we pay the majority of our taxes in our home country, as well as all the taxes due in the UK," a Google spokesman told the BBC.

"We have recently announced significant new investment in the UK, including new offices in Kings Cross for 7,000 staff."

Last year, Google came up against the same problems and was ordered to pay 130 million back in taxes for all the payments it had miscalculated since 2005. HMRC launched an enquiry into the company's accounting and found it had miscalculated.

Labour's John McDonnell thinks the latest figures are a miscalculation too.

"It is a national disgrace that by paying just 36 million in tax Google could have an effective tax rate lower than many working families in our country," he commented. "And it exposes the complacency at the heart of this Tory government, which is allowing this to still continue despite last year's scandal."

"It seems that the so-called 'successful' tax deal with Google that George Osborne boasted about last year has meant that they are still not paying their fair share under his successor Philip Hammond."

Advertisement - Article continues below

HMRC said it would not comment on Google's specific circumstances, but added it does not settle for less when it comes to companies paying the tax owed.

"Our most recent figures show that HMRC brought in a record 26 billion in extra tax for our public services, with 7.3 billion of that total coming from the 2,100 largest and most complex businesses in the UK," it said in a statement issued to the BBC.

Featured Resources

Digitally perfecting the supply chain

How new technologies are being leveraged to transform the manufacturing supply chain

Download now

Three keys to maximise application migration and modernisation success

Harness the benefits that modernised applications can offer

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

The 3 approaches of Breach and Attack Simulation technologies

A guide to the nuances of BAS, helping you stay one step ahead of cyber criminals

Download now


cloud computing

Google adds partners to real-time translation tools

8 Jan 2020

The IT Pro Products of the Year 2019: All the year’s best hardware

24 Dec 2019
search engine optimization (SEO)

Google is getting worse as it does more

21 Dec 2019

The IT Pro Podcast: Is the future multi-cloud?

29 Nov 2019

Most Popular

operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
data breaches

Misconfigured security command exposes 250 million Microsoft customer records

23 Jan 2020
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020

Windows 10 and the tools for agile working

20 Jan 2020