COMMENTING on Google s agreement to pay HMRC 130m in back taxes, Green Party finance speaker, Molly Scott Cato MEP, who is also a member of the European Parliament s special committee on tax, said:
The fact that Google can negotiate its tax liabilities is a clear indication of the power held by such global corporations. As a democratically elected representative, this makes me deeply uneasy. I am also outraged by the tiny additional tax that HMRC has decided to charge Google: at around 13 million per year it is tiny compared to the 6.5bn Google earned in the UK in 2014. It is clearly wholly inadequate as a contribution from a company that is free riding on publicly funded infrastructure, specifically the 1.2bn the government has invested in superfast broadband.
Tax rules should be written by democratically elected politicians and in a transparent way, not stitched up behind closed doors by accountants, corporate bosses, and co-opted tax authorities. The first step of a transparent international tax regime is a system where all companies must report publicly how much they earn in each different country.
This country-by-country reporting is top of the list of demands of the European Parliament’s special tax committee of which I am a member.