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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

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

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...