Re: So are they breaking the law or not?
I thought Google's dealings were, while naughty, not technically illegal.
That depends on how you define and treat transfer pricing. Under most international agreements and UK domestic law, transfer pricing to transfer profits across borders is illegal. And that's the problem, HMRC are quite happy to harass SMEs and individual contractors, but they've been curiously uncurious when it comes to investigating Google's trading arrangements, or Starbucks' bean purchasing. Anybody foolish enough to believe Google et al when they maintain that their arrangements are legal and they make little or no profit in the UK needs to ask themselves why these companies report multi-billion dollar UK profits to their shareholders.
If our government were not such a bunch of retards, and HMRC had some talent, they'd have nailed the big corporate tax dodgers, just like the French appear to be doing.