Google may face bigger tax bills in the UK, according to a report from Reuters, which says that Google executives and the company’s auditor Ernst & Young, will be called to a British parliament committee to testify, after Reuters’ own investigation highlighted “inconsistencies” in Google’s portrayal of its activities.
At issue is whether or not Google makes sales to UK customers from the UK itself. According to Reuters, Google’s Matt Brittin has said that it does not, but some Google staff and UK customers believe otherwise. In light of this, the Public Accounts Committee is calling upon Google representatives to explain themselves. Reuters’ Tom Bergin writes:
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.
Brittin, Google’s Vice President for Northern and Central Europe, told the PAC in November that “Nobody (in the UK) is selling.” He said Google employs “a couple of hundred” staff at its European headquarters in Dublin who are responsible for selling to UK clients.
Ernst & Young has refused to comment on Google’s activities, for confidentiality purposes.
Google’s tax practices have been the center of controversy in Europe time and time again, perhaps most notably in France.