back to article Eric Schmidt defends Google's teeny UK tax payouts - again

Eric Schmidt has once again said that it was totally fine for Google to pay just £6m in UK corporation tax - even though it's a multi-billion dollar company. Google was one of several big multinationals, including Starbucks and Amazon, that were singled out for criticism over how little tax they pay in Blighty. With regular …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm...

    "...he still defended the company's tax record, saying that the Chocolate Factory spent plenty of money in the UK and helped the economy along in other ways aside from tax..."

    I must give that one a go... An acquaintance of mine is a massive tax avoider, in that she pays herself minimum wage from her company and, somehow has an annual income in excess of £100k, she tried to defend her tax avoidance to a few people in the pub by saying that she gets local kids up onto her farm to help out and this contributed to society more good than the tax she would pay. To say that her arguments weren't met with much enthusiasm would be rather an understatement. Just like Google, she's not doing anything illegal per se, but it's certainly stretching the law way beyond it's intentions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm...

      I agree with your acquaintance. She is not doing anything wrong. If people want to complain they should vote for smarter politicians who make better laws and hopefully in the process not waste tax money. I am all in favour of paying taxes but not when I see how those taxes are generally used with a level of incompetence that would get anyone fired in a corporate structure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm...

        She may not be doing anything legally wrong, but that doesn't mean we have to socially condone it ?

        Same as being a BNP member. It's not illegal, but you might not have too many friends.

        1. tony
          Happy

          Re: Hmm...

          Invoking the BNP, I'm guessing you feel your argument is a little weak and hope that some emotional rhetoric reinforces it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Tony

            No, not really, it was just a journalistic shorthand for behaviour which *some* people find offensive, which isn't illegal. It could just as easily have been "people who don't flush after shitting". Not illegal, but socially unacceptable.

            1. Stuart Castle

              Re: @Tony

              One point every who defends this woman (and presumably Amazon, Apple, Google, Starbucks et al who are all doing the same on a larger scale) appears to be missing is that no one has suggested that what is being done is illegal. Immoral and wrong, maybe, but not illegal. But what is legal and what is right aren't always the same things.

              1. tony
                Happy

                Re: @Tony

                @Stuart

                "But what is legal and what is right aren't always the same things."

                Yep, one is subjective and the other isn't.

              2. Steve 13
                Thumb Down

                Re: @Tony

                @Stuart

                You think that paying yourself taxed dividend from taxed profit is the same as shifting profit offshore to avoid tax...

                Logical failure.

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Hmm... @ AC no 1

      You really dont get it do you? What she is doing is perfectly legitimate and is deliberately enshrined in our current tax laws to encourage entrepreneurship.

      If you dont like it go out a start a business of your own to pull us out of this recession.

      How many people does she employ that are paying NI etc?

      1. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: Hmm... @ AC no 1

        No, what she is doing might be legal but it is not moral and it is not right.

        The fact was pointed out, she 'earns' a minimal wage to avoid paying tax and has a personal income of around 4x the average. She doesn't pay tax on her income. Her employees might, but that doesn't excuse her not.

        I spend my money in the UK, does that mean I should be exempt from paying tax here because I help the British economy by spending my money here? And if so how is that anyone pays tax????

        This is the argument being used.

        As to other peoples comments about finding smarter politicians, thats the problem, the politicians are too smart, they are looking after themselves and their financially rich backers first, the rest of us can go hang. After all the majority of women who voted for Blair did so for his 'nice smile', those who didn't like Gordon didn't like him because he was grumpy, my mum thinks Cameron is 'wonderful' - because his suit fits properly and she also thinks Milliband is bad because his suit doesn't! The British public are far too stupid, ill informed, ignorant and frankly lazy to elect anyone who wants to help the country succeed.

        Tax is actually really bloody simple.

        Single flat tax on all income - from what ever source. You avoid the problems of starvation and so forth which led to the complex benefits and the stupid tax allowance schemes by paying a single flat benefit to all adults.

        For companies the tax is equally simple - a single flat tax on all transactions done in the UK or crossing the UK border to another country - including on bank transactions. I don't give a fig about your 'profit' because I get taxed on the money that comes into my account (income tax) and the money that goes out (VAT) regardless of the fact that each year I end up with a bigger mountain of debt.

        Making tax simple would deny lots of civil servants jobs and stop the MP's helping their rich friends, that is the ONLY reason it doesn't happen.

        The rich continue to abuse the rest and to justify their actions by the flimsiest of pathetic excuses.

        1. MrXavia
          Facepalm

          Re: Hmm... @ Dave 15

          I am glad your not in a position to change things...

          Yes we need simplification, but your idea would cause price rises and probably collapse the economy...

          Also if you had even the slightest idea on how the economy operates, you would already realise that VAT IS a tax on transactions already, it is irrelevant whether it is 'technically' paid by company or consumer as it is paid by the consumer in the end...

          and just think, if you taxed on income only, your income is 300k, your costs are 250k, tax is 20%, you are now 10k in debt....

        2. Steve 13
          Thumb Down

          Re: Hmm... @ AC no 1

          She does pay tax on her income, the last time I checked dividends were taxed.

          It's not the same headline rate as salary is taxed at, but given how easy it is for the government to change it, that must be deliberate.

        3. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Hmm... @ AC no 1

          "it is not moral and it is not right." Based on what exactly?

          You're also ignorant because this is not true: "she 'earns' a minimal wage to avoid paying tax and has a personal income of around 4x the average. She doesn't pay tax on her income"

          Any money she takes from the company has been taxed corporation tax (what Google are avoiding paying). You don't pay personal (income) tax on this income up to the upper threshold because it's already been taxed. If you take income above the upper threshold (about £40k) then you pay some additional income tax on it (about 12% I think) so the income is double-taxed.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm... @ AC no 1

        No, I really do get it. She doesn't employ people on her farm, just organises volunteer days and helps teach kids about farming with other volunteers.

        What is being done is perfectly legal, I never said that it wasn't, but avoiding tax and particularly NI when you earn £100k is absolutely not deliberately enshrined into our tax law, it's use of loopholes to get a free ride from the rest of society, which I find particularly repugnant for someone earning such a huge amount of money.

        Many loopholes exist by accident or oversight, many are plugged when they are found, some can't be so easily plugged because the loophole comes about from a legitimate need. This is the case where Starbucks were paying all their money in equipment and franchise costs to an offshore company. It's a legitimate business need to be able to do this, but clearly not intended for 100% of a company's money to be sent offshore in this manner.

      3. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Hmm... @ AC no 1

        Bull

        "You really dont get it do you? What she is doing is perfectly legitimate and is deliberately enshrined in our current tax laws to encourage entrepreneurship."

        If that were true they would have created tax breaks for doing something that could be considered entrepreneurial. They would not be round about ways of avoiding having your income show up as taxable. It's just the rich don't pay tax.

        You are correct that it was "deliberately enshrined" but it has zero to do with encouraging entrepreneurship, unless you define entrepreneurship as having loads of money.

      4. John Lilburne Silver badge

        Re: Hmm... @ AC no 1

        "How many people does she employ that are paying NI etc?"

        Fiddling is a way of life. If they are fiddling the tax its odds on they'll be fiddling the NI too. Probably deducting at source and not passing it on to the taxman. In years to come their employees may find they don't have quite as much NI credit as they thought they did.

    3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Hmm...

      Sounds like she's taking it to extremes, but I suspect she's just using the same approach that IT contractors have been using for years, pay a low salary (to avoid National Insurance) and then draw the rest of her income as a dividend from the company - but remember the divi is paid from company profits which have been taxed at the same level as basic income. I don't know whether she'll get hit from some higher rate tax on the divi as well - I suspect so. All she's doing is avoiding National Insurance (which is a sort of tax) IR35 was intended to stop that little trick.

      For many genuine small companies (not contractors) it's a legit and necessary approach - I'd love to pay myself a few grand regularly every month, but the company income varies wildly during the year, and from year to year, so the 'pay enough salary to qualify for NI contributions' approach, supplemented by a divi of whatever is left over at the end of the year is a perfectly reasonable approach, and in fact is precisely the situation that the rules were devised for.

    4. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: Hmm...

      If you want to pay more tax than you are legally obliged to then you are free to do so.

      I, however, am an avid tax avoider - I've got Premium Bonds, a bunch of ISAs, a pension fund, my charity donations take advantage of gift aid and and I take advantage of duty free shopping whenever the opportunity is presented.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm...

        Yes, I am a tax avoider too, in that I have ISAs, Premium Bonds and GAYE from my pay, gaining gift aid on the donation. The thing is that these are legitimate, deliberately designed and advertised by government. They are schemes for specific reasons, beit to encourage investment in government, personal saving or charitable giving. Setting up complex financial arrangements to pay as little Ni eer and ers as possible, while earning multiples of average salary is not advertised or in any way condoned by government. They also fairly regularly close down tax loopholes that allow these behaviors, which also makes a statement that it's not ok.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Hmm...

          If you want to be a contractor, running a Ltd company is the only really sensible option because many companies will NOT hire sole traders. Contractors go Ltd for other reasons than tax efficiency, that is simply a bonus once they are set up.

          Also, if you don't avoid NI, you end up paying both employee AND employer NI as you are the employer - how is THAT fair?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm...

            It's totally fair - if you run a company you have to pay ers, but you by definition employ yourself so you have to pay ees too. It's not as if anyone can be under any illusion that this is not the case, it's part of the legitimate costs of running a company.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm...

      Errrr... No....

      Sounds like she is running a small business, like all businesses you minimise costs...

      She is paying her FAIR share of tax.. Any profits she makes, will be taxed at the SME rate...

      Unlike others who offshore their money to avoid any UK tax (like a certain comedian did..)

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm...

      >An acquaintance of mine is a massive tax avoider, in that she pays herself minimum wage from her company and, somehow has an annual income in excess of £100k

      Pretty much like any director then - quite a few of whom don't take a wage so by your measure presumably pay no income tax at all.

  2. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    FAIL

    The tax laws are open to all...

    Create your own multi-national, billion dollar business and you can do that as well. But its you who has to take the risks etc. MP's also take full advantage of this... so i doubt laws will be changed.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: The tax laws are open to all...

      No. The laws are open to ultra wealthy companies.

    2. James Micallef Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: The tax laws are open to all...

      Schmidt is perfectly right about the part of capitalism where he's in it for the money, he's abiding by all existing laws, fair enough and kudos to him for being part of building a massively successful company.

      BUT when you are spending many millions of dollars in lobbying and paying campaign contributions to politicians to make damn well sure that they will never change the tax code in a way that will cost you billions... well, that has nothing to do with capitalism, it's good old-fashioned bribery, albeit institutionalised and drseesd up in Armanis suits

      1. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: The tax laws are open to all...

        Kudos? He joined in 2001 when Google was already huge, Before that he was ceo at Novell - as I recollect that company ended in pretty much humiliating failure... which kind of illustrates a point I made about going from failure to failure getting richer... he won't be poor when google makes a wrong bet eventually and declines even more rapidly than it grew

      2. accountant

        Re: The tax laws are open to all...

        Lobbying works only when the politicians are ready to be bribed. Or threatened. Or blackmailed.

        No-body has yet figured out a way of qualifying a digital transaction into a tax jurisdiction. The EU has attempted to do so with VAT for cross-border supply of services, and it's a dog's breakfast.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The tax laws are open to all...

        Problem is Google have a motto of don't be evil and being immoral isn't far off evil.

        Paying UK staff via Ireland is a deliberate fiddle. Just because it isn't illegal doesn't mean it won't be soon.

        Using these fiddles is like those "legal highs" that companies sell. They may be legal for a short time but it doesn't mean they're a good thing.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: The tax laws are open to all...

          Is "don't be evil" the new "Hitler" of online discussion?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The tax laws are open to all...

            @JDX - If you make your corporate slogan "Don't be evil" and then go around behaving in a manner that is at best shady, you'd better expect that people are going to hold you to your soft and fluffy subjective corporate statement, and that's going to be interpreted differently by different people.

            1. JDX Gold badge

              Re: The tax laws are open to all...

              Only when "people" in question are over-privileged nerds who think shady tax strategy equates with being evil.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: The tax laws are open to all...

                Oh, it's the over-privileged who object to tax avoidance, is it? Not say pretty much every major welfare charity in the country?

                Let's be totally clear: The reason that Greece and Italy, and to a certain extent Cyprus are in the state that they are in is down to tax avoidance. No ifs, no buts, there is a clear path from the people and companies having a culture of avoiding paying for their society to the society going bust.

                1. AceRimmer
                  Facepalm

                  Re: The tax laws are open to all...

                  Yup, it really is that simple

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  FAIL

                  Re: The tax laws are open to all...

                  > The reason that Greece and Italy, and to a certain extent Cyprus are in the state that they are in is down to tax avoidance. No ifs, no buts,

                  It's actually a lot simpler than that. The government over stretched itself after joining the EU.

                  They way-over-committed themselves on public spending, and ended up in the shit.

                  If a startup company spends more money than it makes and goes to the wall, people say that the guy ran the company into the ground. If a country does it, they say that tax avoiders are evil.

                  Inconsistency much?

    3. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: The tax laws are open to all...

      'Create you own'....

      Cobblers

      Most - the vast vast majority - of those with money and in charge of huge multi-nationals didn't create it or take the risks. They have the right old school tie, no more and no less. Worse still is that they go from failure to failure at the top of the tree barely pausing for long enough to assess the massive damage they have done to other peoples lives.

      Who is running Boots? What did he manage to wreck last time - wasn't it one of our major banks? What about that egit at the top of Nokia? Look at his cv - a list of failures. The same goes for almost all of them (Branson, Dyson and some others are rare exceptions, but in the most cases still got a leg up in the form of capital from reasonably rich families and friends).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple and Amazon worse offenders

    but they get protection from the press it seems...

    What gives?

    1. Shagbag

      "Fair Share"

      Since when has the UK taxation system ever given a shit about being 'fair'.

      1. Natalie Gritpants

        Re: "Fair Share"

        or moral?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple and Amazon worse offenders

      Microsoft do it as well. ..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple and Amazon worse offenders

        They don't care about being evil. Google are always trying to make out they are the good guys.

    3. Chad H.

      Protection from the press?

      Have you been living under a rock? Both of those companies have been in the headlines over the past few months for the same issue... Amazon got it twice as bad.

  4. blamblamblam

    Can anyone explain what ES thinks he might be saying here:

    Dear Reg readers,

    Can anyone explain what ES thinks he might be saying here:

    "We empower literally billions of pounds of start-ups through our advertising network and so forth,"

    ?

    It's a line quoted in the BC and Reg versions of the interview, but I honestly don't have a clue what it means... "We empower start-ups through our advertising network" by letting them pay us to advertise? Does google give free ad space to start ups? Start ups make billions of pounds by advettising on Google? Any help much appreciated...

    1. Pie

      Re: Can anyone explain what ES thinks he might be saying here:

      I have been wondering about this as well. Perhaps he is saying without the power of Google adverts all the new UK start ups would fail, but as they can pay Google money to advertise they all flourish and pay tax until they get big enough to work out how not to pay tax...

      Hmm, looking at it like that perhaps the government should pay Google to be here...

    2. simbo52

      Re: Can anyone explain what ES thinks he might be saying here:

      Last week I was looking for a magnetic doorstop for external doors. None of the big DIY companies sold them so I found (via Google) and ordered one from a company online, and it was just what I needed. It was obviously a very small company who would never had my business if it weren't for the internet.

      So, Google can't take credit for promoting small companies in this way, but they're a big part of the industry that has allowed this to happen. I agree to move from "empowering" to "contributing to the success of" is a big leap, and a little disingenuous.

      It's all swings and roundabouts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can anyone explain what ES thinks he might be saying here:

        "Last week I was looking for a magnetic doorstop for external doors. None of the big DIY companies sold them so I found (via Google) and ordered one from a company online, and it was just what I needed. It was obviously a very small company who would never had my business if it weren't for the internet."

        There's the problem with that logic right there, at the end. Google weren't necessary to this story, the internet was. You'd have had the same experience if you used Bing, or Yahoo, or Ask or whatever to search for a supplier of your magnetic doorstops, or you'd looked on ebay.

        So even saying Google "empowered" these companies is inaccurate. If Google ceased to exist, these companies would be no more or less empowered.

    3. Miek
      Linux

      Re: Can anyone explain what ES thinks he might be saying here:

      "It's a line quoted in the BC and Reg versions of the interview, but I honestly don't have a clue what it means... "We empower start-ups through our advertising network" by letting them pay us to advertise? Does google give free ad space to start ups? Start ups make billions of pounds by advettising on Google? Any help much appreciated..." -- It's called marketing-speak and is generally designed to make no sense and have no meaning.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can anyone explain what ES thinks he might be saying here:

      That's like saying because your ISP gives you the ability to do business online that they should be allowed to dodge tax.

      Where does it end? the paper company that lets a business write a letter allows that business to make money so should be allowed to dodge tax?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can anyone explain what ES thinks he might be saying here:

      Can anyone explain what ES thinks he might be saying here:

      "We empower literally billions of pounds of start-ups through our advertising network and so forth,"

      He's preparing his political career. Say something which sounds awesome but doesn't mean a thing. (or not even make sense at all)

      :-)

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    It's not a tax ...

    ... if you don't have to pay it - it's a donation.

    Maybe the people who should be most apologetic about this whole sorry state of affairs are the UK's politicians. The thing they should be apologetic about is their inability to draft water-tight tax laws. Why, after all the years that this has been dragging on, haven't they got off their arses and DONE SOMETHING to close the loopholes?

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: It's not a tax ...

      I fear you complete misunderstand what's really going on here. There are very, very few actual holes in the laws they passed because most of the holes were intentional.

      What's stirred them into mock outrage is multiple realisations:

      Half the MP scum realising that their friends and financial supporters aren't the only ones benefiting (as intended). They aren't in control of the handouts any longer.

      That they've botched the whole bent enterprise so badly it's now possible to completely avoid contributing any value back to the country even as a side effect - and that removes the fiction they justified much of the plan with.

      That the public have started asking awkward questions that won't stop at preventing excessive avoidance, killing quite a few retirement directorships for the crooks in parliament if their 'friends' actually end up paying tax.

      The system is working almost as planned, they just expected not to get caught. ES has done us a big favour, by being so open and outspoken the politicians are forced to respond and not just with the usual bullshit. They need to decide whether the things they said to justify enticing internationals to the UK with tax reductions are bullshit or real, but neither position is compatible with the squealing complaints now emitting from parliament.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not a tax ...

        Do you have any source for this flight of fancy, anything to show any of the above actually happened, outside of your imagination? Links to MPs discussing the problem of them not controlling handouts any more, that kind of thing?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: It's not a tax ...

          > Do you have any source for this flight of fancy, anything to show any of the above actually happened, outside of your imagination? Links to MPs discussing the problem of them not controlling handouts any more, that kind of thing?

          To be honest, it's the first explanation that actually makes sense.

  6. Will 20

    If you want to make Google pay fair tax, change the tax law.

  7. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Crap argument

    Small businesses also employ people, spend money locally, help other businesses through providing them with the goods and services to develop, and their customers pay VAT BUT the the UK registered SMEs also pay 20% of their profits in Corporation tax, and generally don't do weird double Irish sandwiches with Spanish mayo (or whatever the latest trick is) to wriggle out of it.

    The system should be simple: Gross income - legitimate expenses = profit, on which the company pays tax. The problem is the Government tie themselves in knots to come up with ways to make sure their chums can use all sorts of dodgy tricks to class everything as 'legit' expenses.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Crap argument

      They aren't claiming no profit, they are moving which country it is charged in. Hard to stop this without blocking entirely legitimate cases where Google UK pays Google US for services and so on which reduce Google UK's profits.

    2. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: Crap argument

      Simpler...; income in the UK == tax.

      I don't get my legit expenses back - no allowance for the fact I have to look smart at work, have to drive here using my petrol in a car I buy, tax and insure for that purpose. Further students these days will even have to pay for the training they need for the job...

      I would be happy enough to see UK companies exporting to the rest of the world not paying tax on those exports... would fix our balance of payments problems. But companies like Google, Starbucks etc. should pay tax on the business they do here - the cups of coffee and the adverts. Why? Because that way they can't 'offshore' the money by ludicrous 'charges' from 'tax free head office' - and that needs to be like that because my corner shop can't offshore its tax in the same way so it is patently completely unfair.

      1. Steve 13
        FAIL

        Re: Crap argument

        So your local corner shop, you think they should be forced out of business because you want to tax them on income (revenue) rather than profit?

        The idea that a business can't have an allowable expense is incredibly stupid.

    3. accountant

      Re: Crap argument

      "The system should be simple: Gross income - legitimate expenses = profit, on which the company pays tax. The problem is the Government tie themselves in knots to come up with ways to make sure their chums can use all sorts of dodgy tricks to class everything as 'legit' expenses."

      If only it were that simple.

      The most common avoidance tactic is to re-locate the taxable basis of a transaction and thus shift its jurisdiction. Governments make this so easy by screwing up the basics.

      So, take a German national buying software on his American employer's credit card over the internet from a vendor who is a corporation incorporated in Japan. Who is entitled to tax what part of the transaction?

      Under EU VAT law, the correct answer is "don't yet know".

      If both Japanese and American companies are registered for VAT in the EU, then the employee should pay zero VAT because the American company should apply the "reverse charge" mechanism (it's a cross-border business-to-business supply, so therefore zero-rated). If the employee subsequently travels outside the EU - for whatever reason - and then starts to use the downloaded software, the transaction falls outside the scope of EU VAT: it doesn't even need accounting for under VAT rules. If neither company is registered for EU VAT, then the transaction is outside the scope of EU VAT.

      But, if the vendor's intermediary is either Apple or Google Checkout, then both vendors will use the IP address of the employee's browser to conclude wrongly that the sale is a German sale, and thus wrongly slap on 19% VAT. For different reasons, both intermediaries assume (or cause vendors to assume) that all sales are - and can only be - business-to-consumer sales. If the intermediary is eSellerate, then there is a very good chance of the correct VAT rate being applied, but only if one or both corporations are registered for EU VAT. Oops.

      The same issues arise with corporation tax (tax on corporate profits and capital gains). Germany will definitely make a big song-and-dance about, "The transaction happened on German soil, you must pay corporate income tax on your worldwide and inter-galactic income!!!" The American government will say exactly the same thing to both corporations (except for California, who will argue that the American government can wait its turn). The Japanese government has the advantage of being the same jurisdiction as the vendor's seat of incorporation, and probably has the strongest claim to income tax revenue.

      And this is why "transfer pricing" rules are both so complex, and yet so missing-the-point.

      Simple. Now there's a thought.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: Crap argument

        > So, take a German national buying software on his American employer's credit card over the internet from a vendor who is a corporation incorporated in Japan.

        They key word here is "internet".

        We will never really sort this out while governments tax geographically transactions which are not geographical in basis.

        It works for the corner shop getting their stuff from the local cash'n'carry.

        But as soon as you cross borders, it all gets really messy.

  8. Fido L Dido

    TIme to alter the tax law?

    ES has basically spouted a load of rubbish to justify a position he shouldn't need to justify.

    The issue here is that tax law is too complex, and some of it is out of date.

    In a global market, corporation tax no longer works. Ireland attracted loads of business by having one of the lowest rates in Europe. Well rather than a race to the bottom, UK plc could do a lot worse than scrap it altogether. All of a sudden the very businesses that locate to The Bahamas or other places with little or no corporation tax will have little reason to do so. More employment here resulting in more taxes of other kinds being collected.

    Of course, the ignorant would proclaim a cut in corporation tax to 0% as pay rise for "those wealthy fat cats". It would surely lose votes.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: TIme to alter the tax law?

      "Of course, the ignorant would proclaim a cut in corporation tax to 0% as pay rise for "those wealthy fat cats". It would surely lose votes."

      Better yet, have no taxes on anyone or anything! Then we shall all be free of oppressive government, like defence, police, schools, hospitals, etc.

  9. Ben M

    There's a bigger problem than Google

    If it's bad to minimise tax through off-shore havens, why is the EU positively encouraging it?

    From the 2011 announcement of the EU's Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base:

    "The European Commission has today proposed a common system for calculating the tax base of businesses operating in the EU. The aim of this proposal is to significantly reduce the administrative burden, compliance costs and legal uncertainties that businesses in the EU currently face in having to comply with up to 27 different national systems for determining their taxable profits. The proposed Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB), would mean that companies would benefit from a "one-stop-shop" system for filing their tax returns and would be able to consolidate all the profits and losses they incur across the EU. Member States would maintain their full sovereign right to set their own corporate tax rate. The Commission estimates that, every year, the CCCTB will save businesses across the EU €700 million in reduced compliance costs, and €1.3 billion through consolidation. In addition, businesses looking to expand cross-border will benefit from up to €1 billion in savings. The CCCTB will also make the EU a much more attractive market for foreign investors."

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-11-319_en.htm?locale=en

    They actually want companies to save money by lowering their tax bill. They want profits and losses to accrue in only one EU country.

    If people have a problem with that, their attentions should be directed towards Brussels, not the Chocolate Factory.

    See also here: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/company_tax/common_tax_base/#ccctb

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: There's a bigger problem than Google

      There's no problem with having EU profits and expenses consolidated. The problem is having all the expenses brought into the EU and all the profits going to the Caribbean

      1. Ben M

        Re: There's a bigger problem than Google

        Google's 'tax havens' for European revenue are Ireland and the Netherlands.

        From El Reg, no less:

        "Schmidt is "very proud" of the corporate structure Google set up to divert profits made in European countries, such as the UK, to its firms in the low-tax havens of Ireland and The Netherlands, thus minimising its tax bill."

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/13/schmidt_proud_capitalist_google/

        Bermuda is for their IP - hardly something the UK has a moral right to tax.

  10. James 51 Silver badge

    MPs should take his advice and change the law so multi-national firms operate on a level playing field with UK only firms who lack the facilities to implement aggressive tax minimisation strategies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You need global agreements on tax laws. Otherwise one country will cut their tax costs to attract business.

      1. Dave 15 Silver badge

        You don't

        You don't need co-operation on tax law at all.

        Implement a UK business tax based purely on transactions in the UK

        If starbucks or google don't want to pay it they can't do business here.

        So they leave

        If people want coffee made for them or an internet search engine then some up and at them young shark in the UK - or perhaps a competitor from overseas who doesn't mind the tax - will step up and provide the service, thus providing tax in the UK.

        What really p***** me off about starbucks, google, amazon et al is that they are taking employment away from the UK, increasing the costs in the UK, not paying into the UK and finding all sorts of excuses for it. The British government (run by the wholly un British and anti British civil service) aids and abets this. The local corner shop can't offshore their profits so pay tax, starbucks can offshore it so don't, thus when it comes to being able to compete starbucks already has a 20% advantage.

        I have to admit to wondering about setting up a company in the bahamas or where ever specifically to help US companies avoid paying tax in the US (and of course offering the same service to the UK smaller guys)

        1. The BigYin

          Re: You don't

          "Implement a UK business tax based purely on transactions in the UK"

          You mean tax the gross income (at a lower rate) rather than profit (at a higher rate)?

        2. JDX Gold badge

          Re: You don't

          "a UK business tax based purely on transactions in the UK"

          What a stupid idea. Any company which imports goods from outside the UK is now not able to offset valid expenses against sales. Kill what remains of manufacturing in one swoop.

          1. James Micallef Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: You don't

            As Big Yin and JDX say, taxing revenue (rather than profit) will not work. What could do the trick is introduce some level of reasonableness to allowed costs that are used to send profit overseas.

            For example, if the global price for coffee is approximately $ per tonne, Starbucks UK would not be allowed to buy it at 5X$ or 2X$ per tonne from their Swiss branch, as they currently do. A small markup is OK, a deliberate exporting of profits isn't allowed. Or in the case of IP and branding (both Google and Starbucks), you aren't allowed to buy/license your IP/branding from the Bahamas unless you can prove that either it was developed in the Bahamas, or that your Bahamas subsidiary paid a fair value for it to the location where it was developed.

            In opposition to those who shout 'over-regulation' I can answer, well, the self-regulation isn't really working, so if you won't self-regulate properly you'll have to be regulated externally. (See banks and where their self-regulation led to).

            At least, that's what makes sense / seems fair. The reality is that adding such a layer of complexity would be a bigger burden on smaller companies and big companies would find a way around it.

            1. The BigYin

              Re: You don't

              Err...I'm in favour of a tax on the gross. Or any other idea that can simplify the tax system and cut down the chicanery used by the mega-rich.

              I am taxed (pretty much) on my gross; why should a company be any different?

              Either that, or the MPs have got to get HMRC to stick the boot in. And sort "too big to fail" why they are at it, which I'd a separate but closely coupled issue.

              1. JDX Gold badge

                I am taxed (pretty much) on my gross; why should a company be any different?

                Because a company IS completely different. A company might bring in $1bn but spend $900m. Your 'margin' is ridiculously high in comparison.

                In fact the personal tax-free allowance of £10k you get covers things like transport and other expenses so you effectively ARE being taxed on your 'profit'.

              2. James Micallef Silver badge

                Re: You don't

                "Err...I'm in favour of a tax on the gross"

                Apologies, I misread your previous comment

            2. The BigYin

              Re: You don't

              Oh, and please don't use the phrase "IP". It's meaningless and conflates three areas of law. You are referring to trademark licensing I believe?

              1. James Micallef Silver badge

                Re: You don't

                I used "IP" because in the case for exampe of Starbucks they sell trademark rights to their franchisees, in the case of Google they sell rights to patent licenses AND trademarks. There wasn't any specific reference to the third bit of "IP", copyright, but I think it's also perfectly possible for a UK-based movie studio, band or publisher to transfer their copyrights to the Caribbean and thereby not pay tax in the UK, so I think the argument is valid over all 3 branches of IP.

                1. The BigYin

                  Re: You don't

                  "in the case of Google they sell rights to patent licenses AND trademarks. "

                  So that's patents and trademarks, not "IP".

                  "There wasn't any specific reference to the third bit of "IP", copyright"

                  There is no such thing as "IP". There are patents, trademarks and copyright. Different tools for different jobs. Lumping them together under the misnomer "IP" clouds very serious issues.

    2. James 51 Silver badge

      Why the downvote?

  11. Number6

    Company Obligations

    As I understand it, under UK law a company is obliged to do the best for its shareholders. Many of them would probably consider intelligent tax planning as part of that, to maximise the income for shareholders (given that money is the measurable part of 'best for').

    Therefore, not only are they not illegal, they're positively obeying the law as it stands.

    As others have said, if we want big multinationals to pay more tax then change the law to make it so, whilst noting that getting it wrong may cause said multinationals to choose to do business elsewhere.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Company Obligations

      @Number 6 - agree completely.

      However with regard to this part: "may cause said multinationals to choose to do business elsewhere", I think this is fearmongering introduced by business and their shills.

      If Starbucks were to stop operating in the UK, do you think it's more likely that every Starbucks customer will stop drinking coffee and the resulting billions would just disappear from the UK economy, or that other coffee shops will open to take over their custom?

      If Google stopped selling their adverts in the UK, do you think it's more likely that companies would stop buying adverts online, or would they find another provider?

      The UK economy depends on the people of the UK, not on whichever multinationals operate there.

    2. James R Grinter

      Re: Company Obligations

      Andrew Witty (GSK CEO) put this point about shareholders well,

      "Everything we do is dominated by the super long-run view. Once we're all aligned around that, I find very little conflict between doing the right thing and looking after shareholders. Because it is not in the shareholder's interest for us to be criticized by regulators or to find for some reason we're not competitive in a part of the world simply because we haven't challenged our business model and reputation is important to them. They want to own shares in companies with decent reputations, and there is all sorts of good evidence to support that. I don't think I've had a significant challenge from a shareholder on these sorts of issues. Where the tension comes in is when shareholders are looking at the short-term. Yes, we want to succeed is in the short-term, but really where we need to succeed is in the medium- and long-term because that is the cycle time for this industry."

      [from an interview at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillypharma/202248061.html -- but he's made the same points elsewhere, and often.]

      in other words, doing the best for shareholders usually means doing the best for everyone else too (unless you're chasing short-term profit at the expense of the long-term.)

  12. Chad H.

    Don't be evil....

    ...Unless everyone else is doing it.

  13. Miek
    Linux

    Change the law to make it a criminal offence to off-shore profits, via schemes like the Double-Dutch-Sandwich etc.

    1. Steve 13

      I assume you can explain how you'd draft this legislation?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The problem is that it's legitimate to offshore some profits, for instance: If you have to buy specific equipment or software from your parent company, which is offshore. How can you judge between what's a reasonable cost and what's funneling tax to an advantageous tax regime.

      It's a tough feelings kidney, whichever way you slice it. Personally I wouldn't want to be the person making the judgement, and you can be sure it'd be contested in court every time. Wouldn't it be nice if the companies in question would just act with the spirit of the law...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, Mr. Schmidt.

    As per usual, Mr. Schmidt is bending fact in his own personal distortion field with the purpose of taking the piss out of his paying audience.

    Let me educate you, Mr. Schmidt.

    A more more less current definition of capitalism would be

    A social and economic system where :

    - capital assets are mainly owned and controlled by private persons

    - labor is bought for money

    - profit is returned to the owners of said capital investments

    - there is some sort of price mechanism that regulates the flow of capital

    Of course, there are different 'shades'of capitalism in which forementioned distinguishing marks vary to some extent.

    Current definition of capitalism DOES NOT in any way mention the payment of taxes and in which way they are levvied.

    What is not mentioned in the definition either, Mr. Schmidt, is the responsibility that partners in a functioning society have towards the functioning of said society. There are laws to regulate interaction, there is infrastructure, there are common amenities, and so forth. These things are paid for by a system of taxes, which is supposed to ensure ALL entities that take part in that society pay for their fair share (excusez le pun) of all the things that are supplied by society. To YOU, Mr. Schmidt, these are the roads on which your dreadful camera cars drive, lighting so they don't get hit at night, a power grid to make your servers work, places your employees can live (and I don't meen their flat but their village), schools they can go to so they can get educated, etc.

    Since, as a company, you take part in society by making money off of it, you are expected to contribute to it as well. I seem to vaguely remember, Mr. Schmidt, your lot calls it 'corporate responsibility'. You don't do it because you are required by law, but because you see the responsibility your corporation has towards the society it feeds off, and the importance of keeping that society healthy.

    No one, Mr. Schmidt, can order you to pay taxes if you are not so required by law. But don't hide your cowardly ass behind capitalism. Because capitalism has fork all to do with it. Greed, on the other hand, has EVERYTHING to do with it.

    1. Tim Parker

      Re: No, Mr. Schmidt.

      "No one, Mr. Schmidt, can order you to pay taxes if you are not so required by law. But don't hide your cowardly ass behind capitalism. Because capitalism has fork all to do with it."

      Yes it does - you trying to redefine capitalism to bolster your argument (not awfully well in my own opinion, YMMV) does change that one bit.

      "Greed, on the other hand, has EVERYTHING to do with it."

      The two are hardly mutually exclusive, now are they ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No, Mr. Schmidt.

        I am expressly NOT trying to REdefine capitalism. It's the whole point of the bloody post. Which you have seem to have missed completely. My fault for using difficult words. Oh well.

        1. Tim Parker

          Re: No, Mr. Schmidt.

          "I am expressly NOT trying to REdefine capitalism. It's the whole point of the bloody post. Which you have seem to have missed completely."

          My issue is that you're trying to add in little nicities that you feel should be followed by Google, or any other capitalist entity, e.g. an expectation of contribution to society. Not having these does not prevent the entity engaging in capitalism - as much as you, me or anyone would like to have it so. The initial description you had, as bullet points, are fine and vague enough as far as they go.

          "My fault for using difficult words. Oh well."

          Ah - school yard insults - how entertaining.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Stop

            Re: No, Mr. Schmidt.

            > My issue is that you're trying to add in little nicities that you feel should be followed by Google, or any other capitalist entity, e.g. an expectation of contribution to society.

            Indeed. You define capitalism, then add "Oh, and by the way, capitalists should be nice to society".

            The first bit is fair enough, the last bit is just communistic fantasy.

            In person-to-person transactions between people personally conducting business, it pays to be "nice". That's just good business.

            Don't confuse that with our interactions with the government wrt tax. No-one has a moral obligation to be nice to a government concerning tax. What is the benefit to your customers and your business by doing so?

            Don't you realise that the government will take every opportunity to shaft you if given half the chance?

    2. J Canuck

      Google "iCrook" returns "G" ?

      They say big G is the grandest thief in the universe. So, it there any surprise they are the #1 tax evader on earth ?

  15. El Andy
    Joke

    Did he really shave his head?

    Or did you mean boldly.

    1. ratfox Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Did he really shave his head?

      Actually, baldly does also have the meaning of "bluntly"; as in make a bald statement.

      1. El Andy

        Re: Did he really shave his head?

        Nope, that's still boldly, as in make a bold statement. Bald with an 'a' is about having no hair.

        1. AceRimmer
          Happy

          @El Andy

          Before you argue any more check a dictionary or two

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Starbucks

    How long do you think it will take for Google to change their stance if we all did what we did to Star Bucks, i.e. use Bing or Yahoo.

    If somebody started a campaign to use an alternative search engine other than Google until Google agreed to play fair, who would break first? Google or us? The way to get ES to sit up and take notice is to hit him the only place it hurts. If hits/ and CPC clicks drop significantly, just like the googlepay party that caused ebay to withdraw advertising a few years ago, I'm sure it wont be long before we get a statement out from Google...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Use Bing or Yahoo

      …As if they were not using the same accounting tricks…

    2. Miek
      Linux

      Re: Starbucks

      "Bing or Yahoo." -- Oh the horror!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Starbucks

      Starbucks are a customer facing business with shops. They can see straight away if there is a problem.

      Google on the other hand are a company that works with OEMs and have online services. They don't meet customers. They can sit up there in their ivory tower and not give a toss.

    4. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Starbucks

      Do you really think Starbucks are simply going to pay full tax on all UK earnings? Of course not, they will simply divert a few £m to the UK as a peace-offering... there is no legal obligation so it's basically a donation to appease the masses.

  17. Bluenose

    The simple solution

    Don't use Google! If you are concerned about their not paying tax then don't use their websites, encourage your family, friends and neighbours to do the same and get them to encourage others to take the same approach. By not using Google you impact on their business and thus their profits.

    Of course no one will do the above as it actually means thinking about what your internet usage and maybe finding a UK search engine that can offer similar functions and services as Google but it is the only way to impact on them. It was the reason Starbucks decided to "donate" some tax, they saw a major loss of business on the horizon and acted to try and circumvent it.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      By not using Google you impact on their business and thus their profits.

      And of course you shoot yourself in the foot, but then socialists are happy to ruin it for tehmselves as long as they can bask in the warmth of spoiling it for others.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm...

    I'm sure that I've read that Google had a fairly large grant from one of the US government agencies to fund their development of the search algorythm. I'd imagine that Eric was rather more accepting of tax paying for things at this point in the company's life?

  19. The BigYin

    Who to blame?

    Blame the MPs. No one else. They decide the tax law, they set-up how HMRC operate and they are the ones who let these corporates away with it. MPs are the only ones to blame.

    Now, what's the solution? Simple. Change the tax system and tax gross income. Maybe have a variable rate based on size of said income, but either way; tax the gross taken in this country. It's simple to administer; stops off-shoring of profits and hiding of profits in tax havens.

    This, clearly, still has problems but it has less problems than the current regime.

    Never happen though. The advisers to the government are all employees (or ex-employees) of the companies that enable the...err...tax efficiencies.

    1. MrXavia
      FAIL

      Re: Who to blame?

      Can't happen, it would destroy businesses...

      Just think, your costs are 900k, your business makes 1 million, your tax liability at 20% is 200k, your profit was only 100k, time for bankruptcy!

      seriously, I have ran a small business and my profit was about 10%, if I was taxed on turnover, then bye bye business

      1. The BigYin

        Re: Who to blame?

        Who said anything about keeping the tax rate at 20%? As the gross is now being taxed, the rate would be much lower and the amount to the Exchequer the same. In you example that would be a tax rate of only 2% on the gross. Actually, the amount would be even lower again because avoidance is (hopefully) so much harder.

        The current system is not viable. I get skinned 20% on (just about) everything I buy, I get taxed (just about) 40% on my gross income and mega-corps pay...nada, the super-rich pay...nada (with one or two notable exceptions).

        1. The BigYin

          Re: Who to blame?

          Ran out of time to add this:

          RMS has ideas on using a variable rate to reduce "too big to fail". Not sure how viable that is, to my mind it would open loopholes that could be exploited.

      2. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: Who to blame?

        It wouldn't destroy business. First the example is pretty extreme, assuming however you are correct then you put your price up, or costs down.

        If the price is up then of course you are less competitive, but then all your competitors are now paying tax at the same rate that you are, so either they to will have to put their costs up, in which case nothing much changes, or they are more efficient and are going to kill you eventually anyway.

        If you chose to go for the costs down option then you will become more competitive and will win more market share - bolstering profit and growing.

        Of course, my version of the tax stuff in the UK for companies specifically limits the tax to transactions in the UK - so you would have a 3rd option - export, under my scheme the export would not attract UK tax... much better all round.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Who to blame?

          A a tax on turnover is a stupid idea designed to appease stupid people who think that because a company is "a billion dollar company" they must be making vast profits.

          1. Dave 15 Silver badge

            Re: Who to blame?

            Please explain why it is so stupid. My income tax is a tax on turnover, because clearly I am a making a vast profit from going to work.... well, perhaps I would if I could have a house near work, could cycle, wear what ever I wanted, didn't need to have spent time and money on training, hadn't got to eat, drink and all those other little thing so I don't peg out on the job...

            It is NOT stupid to tax companies on their turnover (indeed, VAT could easily be swapped to do just that if we got rid of the stupid claim back bits),

            A billion dollar company IS making massive profits, or it is on the way out anyway. It doesn't matter which is true a tax on turnover is still good (taking a proper 'share' of the profit or hastening the company on its way to restructure or fix its fundamental problems). Taxing profit for companies has clearly failed... the profits are quickly (and in the case of company law actually properly) removed to locations where they aren't taxed, and then distributed to the share holders - most of whom are stinking rich already.

            1. JDX Gold badge

              Re: Who to blame?

              Sorry Dave but it's a good job you are a wage slave rather than an entrepreneur. You just have no clue

              a)You get to earn about £10k tax-free. That could cover your expenses to work like travel and clothes, meaning you are then taxed on 'profit'.

              b)Equating a job and a company is asinine in the first place.

              c)"A billion dollar company IS making massive profits, or it is on the way out anyway." Balls it is. A $1bn company making profits of $100m is not any more profitable than a £1m company making profits of £100k.

              d)Some companies run on a margin of say 10% - they manufacture and sell on so they have vast costs and thus very high turnover without that big profits. Others have margins of 70% or more if they are a service company. If you tax on turnover, you kill any company which actually makes anything.

  20. maccy
    FAIL

    "We empower literally billions of pounds of start-ups through our advertising network and so forth,"

    I think he meant to say:

    "We make literally billions of pounds through our advertising network and so forth,"

    More honest, unlike their tax arrangements.

  21. CJR
    WTF?

    Of course she pays tax

    Most of these comments state that she pays NI on her miminum wage but then pays no tax. Well that is not how the system works legally....let me clarify:

    How the system works legally:

    She pays herself enough to be below the tax threshold so currently around £10K but will still pay NI on this.

    Her Limited Company has to pay corporation tax, that's 20% of the company earnings.

    She is also liable for personal tax on all earnings that fall over the higher rate earnings bracket which is about £45K so she would be paying 40% tax on £55K and if she falls into the 50% bracket then she pays even more.

    There are strict rules to adhere to in order to benefit from the reductions in tax paid but they are government incentives for people who start and run their own companies, if the rules are adhered to then you can bitch and whine all you like but she is perfectly entitled to her earnings. Saying she doesn't pay tax is just nonsensical so please get your facts straight before you witter on about how unfair the world is. Starting your own company takes balls and a real drive, I know this because I have done just that and with a young family dependent on me. Anyone can do it, whether you succeed or not is usually down to the individual's capabilities.

    1. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: Of course she pays tax

      Takes balls and drive? Not really, 25 quid and a visit to a website. Making the company successful takes a lot of luck, some serious amount of money behind you to pay the bills you incur while the parasite customers don't pay for the services/goods you have provided them, and of course the money you need to live on while the company gets to the point it supports you - I've started several companies, most on the scrap heap due to unpaid bills, the rest on the scrap heap because they couldn't sustain me, myself and I.

      The most annoying thing is that yes, for a small 1 man band company the risk and reward is generally (not always but generally) down to the person that started it. Sometimes they have a helping hand - large amounts of cash, rich families etc. (think Bill Gates and I believe Richard Branson - though I am not certain about the wealth of his family). But for people like Schmidt it is more to do with going to the right school and being chums with the right people.. Its not like his previous company was a roaring success (its dead Jim), yet he still got appointed to this company and has made a not so small fortune on the back of work people had done before he joined. I'd love to see just how much of the current profit/turnover was down to any decisions he has made since he joined - I would guess either none, or a very small amount.

  22. jai

    "It's called capitalism," he stated baldly. "We are proudly capitalistic. I'm not confused about this."

    And that's fair enough. Part of capitalism is that there should be competition for the customers to choose from. Which why I switched to Bing months ago and I'm still using it.

    Yes, it's not as good, but I'm proudly exercising my capitalistic right to give another firm my business. I hope Schmidt isn't confused about that either.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Why do you possibly think he would be upset by that?

  23. David Kelly 2

    Corporations are not taxed no matter how much tax they pay.

    Corporations do not exist for the purpose of generating tax revenue.

    When a corporation obeys the tax laws and just so happens not to pay much only means the government was successful in using tax law to regulate activities. One is taxed in ways other than cash.

    Even when a corporation pays huge taxes, the corporation is not really taxed. Taxes are just a cost of doing business and are passed on to consumers. Who then pay VAT and sales taxes on top of the taxes the corporation paid and passed through.

  24. Mike Brown

    i will fix this

    step 1: Get rid of corp tax and simplify personal tax e.g. one income tax to rule them all

    step b: Increase the min wage massively

    step the third: Increase income tax massively

    Bosh! Problem fixed

  25. J Canuck
    FAIL

    G = iCrook ?

    They say big G is the grandest thief in the universe. So, it there any surprise they are the #1 tax evader on earth ?

  26. mark l 2 Silver badge

    If she draws out a wage from the business you don't pay tax on that anyway. you pay tax on the PROFIT the business makes.

    Sounds like she needs to get a better accountant

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. allister ferguson
    WTF?

    Are they so different from..........

    Google are not doing anything wrong........ in fact they are only doing what a couple of million sole traders and self empoyed people do.

    Most legal get away with paying under £5 per week national insurance by paying them selves very little and taking the rest out of their companies in dividends. (which only attracts 25% tax compared to the potential 31 and 42% tax band most of us pay)

    I wish my NI bill was only £5 per week.......... and i would do the same If I could... :o)

    Oh my national insurance is going up (Contact out allowances are changing) ....... to fund better pension for Self employed and Part time workers....that is not fair...... :o(

  28. Bob H
    Trollface

    One small question... how does a politician know what is moral and what isn't?

    1. zooooooom

      They read the Mail|Sun|Otrage mag of choice.

      So long as its only mentioned in the grauniad and the indy, its moral. truefax

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