Britain To Quiz Google And Auditor Again On UK Tax Practices

Category: Technology / May 01, 2013 3:07PM EDT
Executives from Google Inc. and its auditor Ernst & Young will be called again to a British parliament committee to testify on tax, after a Reuters investigation highlighted inconsistencies in the way Google portrays its activities in Britain. Margaret Hodge, head of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is tasked with ensuring value in government financial affairs, said she would summon the companies' representatives to explain previous comments to the committee in light of the report. The investigation found that while Google executive Matt Brittin said Google doesn't make sales to UK customers from the UK, some of its staff and UK customers think it does. Lawyers and academics say that if UK staff did sell to UK customers, that could have implications for Google's tax status in Britain, opening the possibility of much bigger tax bills. Google called the Reuters story misleading. Google's own corporate website claims sales teams are based in London, and advertises jobs for London-based sales staff, whose duties include "negotiating deals", closing "strategic and revenue deals" and achieving "quarterly sales quotas". Google's Director for External Relations Peter Barron said Brittin denied firmly that he had misled the Committee and the company stood by his comments that no selling was being conducted in Britain. He declined to say whether UK staff did negotiate or close deals but said all sales to UK clients were transacted with Google Ireland. Ernst & Young declined to comment on Google, citing client confidentiality. Video Source: Reuters