Google faces a renewed investigation into its tax arrangements by the UK government’s Public Affairs Committee (PAC), although it has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.
A Reuters report claims committee chairperson Margaret Hodge said the PAC would meet to discuss the issues after investigations suggested that Google had given inconsistent statements in its last meetings with the government.
The issue relates to whether UK staff at Google sell advertising to UK based companies and if so, how this would affect its tax payment requirements.
Hodge said: "We will need to very quickly call back the Google executives to give them a chance to explain themselves and to ensure that actually what they told us first time around is not being economical with the truth."
V3 contacted the PAC for confirmation but was told nothing would be made official until after the state opening of parliament on 8 May.
However, Google strongly denied any claims it had misled the committee and took issue with the claims from Reuters.
"The Reuters article is 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. 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 spokesperson continued: "In our written evidence, which we also shared with Reuters, we said: 'Google UK Ltd provides sales, marketing and R&D support to Google Inc.'
"We have written to the PAC chair Margaret Hodge to explain that Matt Brittin’s evidence was truthful and accurate and that this article paints a very misleading picture. As we have said many times, we comply with all the tax rules in the UK and in every other country in which
Last year Google, alongside Amazon, was slammed for their “immoral” tax arrangements by the PAC over issues of corporation tax payments. Google's Irish tax haven recorded revenues of £396m in the UK, but paid corporation tax of only £6m.
More recently, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt defended the firm’s tax arrangements and claimed the firm’s economic benefit and social good for the UK far outweighed any concerns over its financial actions.
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