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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Solvency II Project Manager - 10 month contract - £800 p/d

£800 per day: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, global financial services co...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£12500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'