He rebuffed Miliband\’s suggestion there was a distinction between the letter and the spirit of the law. \”You\’ll have to define the difference,\” he said to a barrister who challenged him to say whether Google would comply with the \”spirit\” of the tax laws, which might then lead to it being taxed more. \”We\’re governed by US securities laws – in that scenario it might be seen as incompetence,\” added Schmidt.

5 thoughts on “Quite”

  1. Can anyone expand on that securities angle?

    I’ve heard that they are quite Draconian to companies that are accused of not acting in the interests of their shareholders. And it’s fairly easy to see in this instance how failing to take account of legal tax minimisation tactics could fall into that category.

    Is it possible for CEOs to be prosecuted by the securities commission in that instance?

  2. I don’t have much of a problem with what he said, except that he wants a *predictable* tax code. Problem is that there are some whose prime goal is tax minimisation (trying to find a non-loaded phrase). And others have to compete worh them. If the tax code is entirely predictable, it will eventually collect bugger all. You need the occasional surprise. But I can’t get outraged about Google not overpaying tax.

  3. Would a court case be won solely by following the spirit of the law over the letter of the law? Or would a court look at the letter of the law instead?

  4. @Martin Davies

    in England, the judge can only direct according to the letter of the law. But who knows what a jury might decide, if they got the chance.

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