Lawmakers accuse Google of dishonesty over taxes

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 16, 2013 at 11:01 am •  Published: May 16, 2013
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The ins and outs of what makes a company's revenue taxable in Britain are complicated, but much hinges on where the sales take place. At his first hearing back in November, Brittin said that sales didn't take place in Britain. Staff at Google's brightly-colored London office promoted the company's products, he said, but the sales took place in Ireland — which has a knockdown 12.5 percent corporate tax rate.

An investigation by the Reuters news agency cast doubt on those claims, revealing that Google advertised for sales jobs in London, that London-based Google employees advertised themselves as sales people on professional networking profiles, and that many of Google's clients believed that the London staffers they were dealing with were sales people.

Brittin acknowledged that Google employed "people with sales skills."

"Some of them have sales in their title," he said. "I'm sure customers will feel they feel sold to by the teams."

But they weren't, he insisted.

"No money changes hands," he said. "To be clear the transaction is completed with Google Ireland."

Lawmakers were unimpressed.

"It doesn't make sense to your own staff, it doesn't make sense to this committee, and it doesn't make sense to your own clients," said Hodge. "The only one it makes sense to is Google."

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