Don’t tell the taxman, but Google revenues will soon beat the BBC’s

UK sales for 2013 surge to $5.6bn, bringing its corporation tax arrangements back into the spotlight

Google’s UK revenues last year came within a whisker of the entire BBC licence fee as online advertising surged, putting yet more pressure on the US company over its relatively low levels of UK corporation tax.

Sales in the UK leapt 15.5 per cent in 2013 to $5.6bn (£3.4bn), just shy of the £3.65bn raised during the year from the licence fee, highlighting how the online search engine is rapidly rising in the financial power league of British media. Britain is Google’s second-biggest market outside the US and it recorded its best-ever quarter here in the final three months of 2013 as revenue hit $1.5bn.

News of Google’s soaring revenues, the bulk of which come from advertising, will heap further pressure on the company over its tax arrangements. Despite its huge revenues, Google paid just £11.2m in corporation tax here in 2012. The company pays all its taxes legally but books most of its UK takings through its Irish business, so avoiding UK corporation taxes.

John Mann, a Labour MP and member of the influential Treasury Select Committee, told The Independent yesterday: “Google has a massive turnover, but along with other corporations continues to scheme to avoid paying its fair share of tax. Google’s mantra is ‘don’t be evil’ – but companies need to consider the customers they rely on. At a time of wage stagnation and welfare cuts, does ‘evil’ mean illegal for Google, or should it consider a more relative concept of fairness and accountability?”

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, last year condemned Google’s UK tax arrangements as “devious, calculated and unethical” when the company’s UK chief, Matt Brittin, appeared before MPs.

The most recent accounts for Google UK reveal that its shares-based staff compensation scheme is also under scrutiny from HM Revenue and Customs. The company has set aside £24m to cover potential historical corporation tax on the scheme, dating back to 2005, arising from the taxman’s investigation.

Details of how much corporation tax Google paid in 2013 will not be available until Google UK files its annual accounts later this year.

Google said: “Like most multinationals, we pay the bulk of our £1.2bn corporate tax bill where our business originated, in our case the US. We’re also a significant contributor to the UK economy, having created over 2,000 jobs.”

However, losses at the internet giant’s Motorola arm, which it has just agreed to sell to Lenovo, weighed on earnings, pushing it to a loss of $384m in the quarter.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map