Print 64 comment(s) - last by BRB29.. on May 30 at 9:56 AM

He said Google pays exactly what it's supposed to pay

The United Kingdom has been looking into the tax-paying practices of large companies, and Google's Eric Schmidt doesn't see the big deal. 

Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, defended Google -- which was criticized for profit shifting and dodging larger tax payments -- saying that the UK should change its tax system if it wants large companies to pay more or less each year. 

"What we are doing is legal," said Schmidt, referring to Google's UK tax payments. "I'm rather perplexed by this debate, which has been going in the UK for some time, because I view taxes as not optional. I view that you should pay the taxes that are legally required. It's not a debate. You pay the taxes.

"If the British system changes the tax laws, then we will comply. If the taxes go up, we will pay more, if they go down, we will pay less. That is a political decision for the democracy that is the United Kingdom."

Earlier this year, it was reported that Google avoided paying about $1.6 billion USD (£1 billion) in UK taxes. Google sent £6 billion through Bermuda over the course of the 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.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK, said that companies like Google are immorally minimizing tax bills and need to be stopped.

Just last month, the UK openly stated that it was concerned with the fact that Google only paid £6 million ($7.8 million USD) in UK corporation tax. Schmidt defended Google at that time as well, saying that Google "empowers literally billions of pounds of start-ups through our advertising network" and is "a key part of the electronic commerce expansion of Britain, which is driving a lot of economic growth for the country."

Google isn't the only large company under the microscope. Apple is also being questioned for profit shifting, where it made an estimated £6B ($9.50B USD) in Britain last year, but paid only £10M ($15.8M USD) in taxes.  Apple was able to do this because of the British tax code's rule that largely exempts companies based in Ireland from paying British taxes.

Apple CEO Tim Cook offered tax reform proposals to U.S. Congress at a Senate hearing last Tuesday in an effort to bring back foreign earnings to the United States. Furthermore, he's suggesting that this money be invested in research and development and creating jobs in the U.S. 

Source: BBC News

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RE: >.<
By testerguy on 5/29/2013 9:10:08 AM , Rating: 1
Only the stupidest executives in the universe would opt to pay more taxes than are legally due. Shortly thereafter, they'd lose their jobs and be sued by the corporation's shareholders too, and possibly then go to jail.

Are you referring to the executives who pay the correct taxes and act in a moral way who aren't forcing their company to suffer the lost revenue and lost public trust by being part of a major tax scandal? They'll get fired, get sued and go to jail?

You're a joke. Clearly the laws need to be fixed, but it's quite clear what the law expects you to pay. It's like you claiming you're a pensioner to get a free bus rise. If you're actually a pensioner, it's legal, but if you're not, it's not.

When Google siphons money through tax havens, it is claiming (falsely) that the revenue is generated there. It's only legal because of the lie Google states - and given that the lie is a lie, it's actually illegal . The loopholes simply make it hard to prove that it's illegal, they don't make it legal.

You need to understand the difference.

RE: >.<
By Motoman on 5/29/2013 11:45:38 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for once again pointing out that you've got not even the most tenuous grasp on reality.

There is 100% no doubt that what Google et al do re: taxes is 100% legal.

No. Doubt.

The loopholes *are* legal. Using them *is* legal.

The system needs to be fixed if you don't want corporations *legally* using every portion of tax law to their advantage.

RE: >.<
By testerguy on 5/30/2013 4:00:05 AM , Rating: 2
The loopholes *are* legal. Using them *is* legal.

Again, you obviously have no experience whatsoever about tax havens and their utilisation in the UK tax system. I do. And it shows.

When you enter into any tax scheme you are making artificial claims about where you are based, where you are obtaining revenue, and the legality of your actions DEPENDS on you having been truthful.

It's not 'ILLEGAL' (as I told you several times) because people can't easily prove that you're not based in... wherever. But if you actually aren't, it IS illegal. You don't understand what the tax schemes involve at all.

Yet why would you, you're based in the US. And despite that you have the typical US ignorance to assume you know how the UK tax loopholes work.

RE: >.<
By BRB29 on 5/29/2013 12:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
No. Motoman is right, it is not illegal. It may be a loophole in the system but it's legal.

Fortunately, the world agrees when it comes to accounting methods and principles. The world does not agree on tax laws and it's vastly different between countries. Google just use the difference in international tax laws to lower their tax burden. It is perfectly legal.

I would say it is immoral in general to evade taxes. However, politicians are just as dirty. In this case, it's the pot and the kettle. They're just playing the blame game but I'm going to support Google as the lesser of 2 evils.

RE: >.<
By testerguy on 5/30/2013 4:08:04 AM , Rating: 2
No. Motoman is right, it is not illegal

Firstly, don't defend a moron. Secondly, the distinction between what we and Motoman are claiming is NOT that I am saying it's illegal and he's saying it's legal.

It's obvious and plain that tax avoidance is legal. You can utilise the system to gain the maximum benefit you wish provided you do so legally.

The ISSUE with the system is that a LIE you make can determine whether or not it's legal to claim one tax or another. The loopholes are ways in which you can lie without it ever being provable. That's why it's legal. If there was an objective legal test as to whether you were actually trading in say, the Isle of Man - it would become illegal. Google isn't simply using the 'difference in international tax laws to lower their tax' - they are claiming factually false sources of revenue and bases of trading in order to benefit from different international tax laws. That's very different.

It's clearly immoral, it causes public outrage, it's bad for sales, publicity, it's being clamped down on now (significantly) and there is a very real threat of having to pay all the taxes you SHOULD have paid retrospectively, including damages. If it was not illegal this would simply not be an option. It's very much down to interpretation which side of the 'tax evasion / tax avoidance' debate each scheme site, and the government has made it very clear where it believes they sit.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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