Share “Google, Amazon and Starbucks face...”

Google, Amazon and Starbucks face questions on tax

Associated Press Modified: November 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm •  Published: November 12, 2012
Advertisement

"We are not at all pleased about our financial performance here. It is fundamentally true everything we are saying and everything we have said historically," he told the committee.

Last week, Britain and Germany called for the world's largest economies to do more to collaborate to fight tax evasion, particularly in online commerce.

Hodge told witness Andrew Cecil, public policy director at Amazon, that many people in Britain are angered over the low tax rates paid by the retailer.

"Your entire activity is here yet you pay no tax here and that really riles us," she said.

Cecil's claims that he did not know certain information about Amazon or could not make it public infuriated lawmakers.

"The idea that you come here and simply don't answer the question and pretend ignorance — it's just not on, it's awful," Hodge said, calling Cecil a "not serious person."

Matt Brittin, chief executive of Google UK, told the committee that his company picked Ireland and Bermuda as main bases because tax rates were favorable. Brittin denied one lawmaker's accusation that the Internet search giant was breaching its own code of "Don't be evil."

"We comply with the law in the U.K.," he said. "It would be very hard for us to pay more tax here based on the way we are required to structure by the system."

Hodge fired back, saying lawmakers were "not accusing you of being illegal, we are accusing you of being immoral."