Google executive chairman, Eric Schmidt has said he is "perplexed" by the ongoing furore around the firm's tax payments in the UK. The comments come as the search giant appears set to have its first round of search conncessiont to the European Commission rejected.
Schmidt said the firm is operating within the law and that if the UK government wants to see more money from the firm, it will have to make serious legislative changes, during a talk on BBC Radio 4 on Monday.
"What we are doing is legal. I'm rather perplexed by this debate, which has been going in the UK for some time, because I view taxes as not optional. I view that you should pay the taxes that are legally required. It's not a debate. You pay the taxes," he said.
"If the British system changes the tax laws, then we will comply. If the taxes go up, we will pay more, if they go down, we will pay less. That is a political decision for the democracy that is the United Kingdom."
The comments come as Google faces ongoing scrutiny around its tax arrangements in the UK, with the UK government concerned the firm has not be open in its setup between selling adverts from Ireland, free from UK tax laws.
Schmidt's comments come as EC is on the verge of demanding further search concessions from the firm. Reuters reported that EU competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, confirmed plans to demand further concessions from Google during a hearing at the European Parliament on Tuesday.
"After, we will analyse the responses we have received, we will ask Google, probably, I cannot anticipate this formally, almost 100 percent we will ask Google: you should improve your proposals," he said.
Almunia suggested that the firm may also mount a fresh investigation examining Google's Android operating system. "We have received a formal complaint regarding some aspects of the Android ecosystem. We are working on it, we have not decided if we will open or not a formal investigation," he said.
The European Commission began investigating Google in 2010, following allegations that the firm is using its web search monopoly to gain an unfair advantage over competitors. Google has already proposed terms to the EC hoping to end the investigation.
A Google spokesman toldV3 that the firm is aware of the report. "We believe our proposal to the European Commission addresses the four concerns that were raised. We continue to work with the Commission to settle this case," he said.
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