GOOGLE NEARLY DOUBLED its tax payments to HM Revenue & Customs following a year of criticism over its corporate tax structure.
The search engine paid £11.6m to HMRC in the year to 31 March 2013, up from £6m the year before, the Daily Mail reports.
But criticism persists over the way the company designates its UK operation as primarily marketing, with its Irish operation taking most of the profits before channelling them to Bermuda.
Corporate tax avoidance is now high up the international agenda, with the G20 and G8 groups of leading economies pledging to tackle the practice of companies diverting profits from where they are earned and into lower-tax jurisdictions.
Google said it follows all tax rules in every country where it operates and that it does not pay much tax in Britain because its profits are not generated by its UK employees.
A Google spokesperson defended the amount of tax the company paid in the UK.
In a statement, they said: “Like most multinationals we pay the bulk of our £1.2bn corporate tax bill where our business originated, in our case the US. That’s a rate of more than 19%, roughly what a UK-based company would pay.
“We’re also a significant contributor to the UK economy, having created over 2,000 jobs.
“This year alone we’ve invested more than £300m in property, and tax related to our UK operations totalled more than £150m.”
Google has come under heavy fire from both the public and government for its tax practices, and was described as “evil” by Public Acccounts Committee chair and Labour MP Margaret Hodge, in reference to the company’s “don’t be evil” mantra.
At HMRC, Dmitri Surendran was responsible for leading the London team of the offshore, corporate and wealthy unit of the fraud investigation service
Research also finds that 84% of businesses believe that the government has not provided enough information about digital tax plans
A total of £16bn was lost through tax fraud last year, according to estimates released by Pinsent Masons
Additional tax a result of compliance investigations by HMRC, but overall revenue falls