A former Google executive who blew the whistle on the company’s tax avoidance scheme has described its £130million deal with HMRC as “trivial”.
Barney Jones, who worked for the internet search giant between 2002 and 2006, lifted the lid on an elaborate structure which diverts British profits through Ireland to the Bermuda tax haven.
He accused HMRC of being “asleep at the wheel” and said “heads should roll” after it failed to properly investigate a cache of evidence he gave them about the companies activities.
Mr Jones told The Telegraph that during his meetings with HMRC officials told him that “it’s the politicians that set the taxes, we just apply them”.
He said: “They were absolving responsibility for the fact that they are unable to collect tax from these larger companies.
“I said to them you were the experts for the politicians. You have a responsibility.
“HMRC have been asleep at the wheel and have let this whole thing grow up without taking strong action and heads should roll.
“This situation has been growing for 25 years. I’m sure the politicians would take action if they could. It is completely wrong.
“HMRC need to get a grip, they need to figure out what is the purpose of paying tax in this country. if they tax regime doesn’t work they need to sort that out. Their purpose is to raise money for the public purse. It’s not to blame politicians.”
He really does seem to be complaining about what the law is, not that Google haven’t been following it.