Google vs HMRC

February 17, 2016

Much has been made of the recent Google v HMRC Mexican standoff charade. The reality being that both sides (probably with mutual agreement) emerged from the escapade claiming a win for the sake of PR.


It’s worth watching youtube for the sheer farce of the UK Home Affairs select committee quizzing both sides in a style akin to going into military conflict armed solely with a basket of fruit.


More seriously, the whole saga deflected attention from how all companies with international operations use perfectly legitimate tax strategies to reduce their localised Corporation tax liabilities to a minimum. Arguably, larger companies with more complex operations can certainly use more grandiose schemes than those potentially available to a company with say only one or two subsidiaries but the principles available to all involving intellectual property and it’s location are essentially the same.


Software and technology companies should be mindful, as the public perception is firmly rooted in the concept that the Google/HRMC arrangement (among others) is shrouded in a mystery beyond the layperson’s understanding. Such public opprobrium though should not go unheeded as calls for a tax on the revenue from transactions grow which ultimately is probably in no-one’s interest except politicians looking to virtue signal a higher misplaced sense of moral authority.





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