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David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK, said that companies like Google are immorally minimizing tax bills

Google has managed to skip paying about $1.6 billion USD (£1 billion) in taxes by way of the island Bermuda -- and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom isn't happy.

Google sent £6 billion through Bermuda over the course of last year, which halved its 2011 tax bill. In fact, Google funneled 80 percent of its global revenue through the island and ended up paying about £1 billion less to the government.

Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said this "is called capitalism."

“We pay lots of taxes; we pay them in the legally prescribed ways,” said Schmidt. “I am very proud of the structure that we set up. We did it based on the incentives that the governments offered us to operate.”

David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK, said that companies like Google are immorally minimizing tax bills and need to be stopped. He even wrote a letter to fellow leaders of the G8 requesting a global crackdown on tax avoidance for large companies such as Google and Starbucks.

“I do believe we all have a common interest in being able to tell our taxpayers who work hard and pay their fair share of taxes that we will make sure others do the same,” wrote Cameron in an open letter to the G8.

Google's UK Head Matt Brittin said politicians are the ones who set tax rates, and that Google is playing by their rules.

Google funneled £2.6 billion of British revenue through Bermuda, which cut its UK tax bill by £200 million.

In April of last year, it was reported that Apple made $9.5 billion USD in Britain for 2011, but only paid 0.16 percent in taxes. Amazon was also targeted for its headquarters in the tiny European Union nation of Luxembourg and Google's placement in Ireland with subsidiaries in the Caribbean and Luxembourg for more tax dodging gains.

The New York Times then blamed Apple for dodging billions in taxes in a lengthy article last year.

Source: Business Insider

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Immoral? No. Blame shifting? Yes!
By nafhan on 1/2/2013 12:13:16 PM , Rating: 2
companies like Google are immorally minimizing tax bills
Just. NO. There's no moral issue here. There's legal and illegal; that's it. If there are flaws in the UK tax system, that's the responsibility of Mr. Cameron and his government. Blaming Google and other corporations for his government's problems is just shifting the blame. If there's a moral issue here, it's the politicians attempting to mislead their constituents.

By Motoman on 1/2/2013 12:14:51 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Google's duty is to it's shareholders, and that duty is to maximize profits while not doing anything illegal.

They've done nothing illegal. And by finding legal ways to minimize the taxes they have to pay, they are maximizing profits.

Don't like it? Change the tax codes.

RE: Immoral? No. Blame shifting? Yes!
By Morvannec on 1/2/2013 1:17:35 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps there is a moral issue here. If a company comes to a country and says "Oh good, lots of people to get rich off of." and that countries government says "Hello company. You can get rich off our population, but you have to pay a tax for doing so." and then the company says "Oh hi government. We made lots of money this year from your people... but we moved all the money to another country to avoid your tax." then doesn't the government (and the people) have a right to be a bit pissed off?

Of course the tax laws are set up to allow that to happen so that is what happens. So while we shouldn't be feeling sorry for the politicians (they made the bed), we shouldn't ignore that really companies should pay taxes on the money they make in that country.

By Motoman on 1/2/2013 1:18:57 PM , Rating: 3
then doesn't the government (and the people) have a right to be a bit pissed off?

No. Not if it's legal to do so. If you don't want that to happen...make it illegal. Otherwise, stop whining about people/companies who follow the law.

By half_duplex on 1/2/2013 1:41:59 PM , Rating: 2
But a company doesn't say "Oh good, lots of people to get rich off of." In fact, a company can't really say anything at all, nor can it eat, drink or get high.

The people who run the company may get rich, but there's a good chance they live in said country, and pay the tax for "getting rich off people".

And let's be clear, Google does pay tax to the UK, the UK just wants them to pay MORE.

By nafhan on 1/2/2013 3:53:27 PM , Rating: 2
We made lots of money this year from your people... but we moved all the money to another country to avoid your tax.
The people of that country should be upset. However, getting angry with the corporations here only helps the politicians avoid some negative press, while doing nothing to fix the problem.

You should expect a corporation to take advantage of everything it can: legal and illegal. The government's job here is to look out for the citizens and enforce existing laws (obviously, this does not always happen).
Perhaps there is a moral issue here.
Nope. Despite what some laws say, corporations are not people and can not have beliefs or morals. Those running the company may subscribe to a belief system that would assign a negative moral weight to the actions you describe, but then again I've known of people who feel that avoiding taxes is literally a directive from god. That's why "morals" needs to be a separate discussion: different people have different beliefs; whereas laws attempt to be an absolute and (hopefully) enforceable standard of behavior.

By futrtrubl on 1/2/2013 3:55:57 PM , Rating: 2
There is a moral issue here. Google is morally obligated TO minimise taxes thus increasing profits for their shareholders.
Perhaps the UK government should buy stock ;']

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