Google’s UK chief Matt Brittin is leading calls for a shake-up of international tax laws as the search giant continues to weather the fallout from its recent £133m settlement with HMRC – widely considered to have under-counted the firms true UK liabilities.
Defending that settlement during an appearance before the public accounts committee Brittin sought to switch the debate to the international sphere by calling for ‘simpler, clearer’ rules at a global level ‘because it is important not only to pay the right amount of tax, but to be seen to be paying the right amount’.
Writing in The Telegraph Brittin added: "Some have suggested the settlement which concluded the audit was a ‘sweetheart deal’, a cut-price tax rate. It was not. Google pays corporation tax on its UK profit at the standard rate – currently 20 per cent - the same as any other business in Britain.
"And let’s be absolutely clear: politicians play no part in deciding and settling tax audits. They set the rules, HMRC independently apply the rules and companies like Google follow the rules."
Brittin went onto stress that Google is a US company with the bulk of its creative work and research taking place on the other side of the Atlantic.