Anyone with Times access want to send me a copy of this piece?

Facebook is ready to pay $2bn tax . . . but not in UK

Looking at their accounts all I can see so far is the standard provision for corporate income taxes…..

10 thoughts on “Anyone with Times access want to send me a copy of this piece?”

  1. I do get The Times but I confess I’ve stopped reading any article from them on tax. It’s such garbage that as a tax professional I find it painful to read. I think they are still banging on about how Facebook ‘sneakily’ reduced their UK corporate tax bill by reducing their profits by paying their staff large bonuses.

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    “I do get The Times but I confess I’ve stopped reading any article from them on tax. It’s such garbage that as a tax professional I find it painful to read. ”


    And what makes you think they have the skills and knowledge to write about other subjects that makes them worth reading?

  3. @BiND

    Dunno, I suppose. I guess I don’t know enough about other subjects to know when they’re writing nonsense!

  4. I tend to use the rule of thumb that when someone writes bollocks about issues that I know well they probably do it for all the rest too

  5. @AndrewC and BIND

    Examples of the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect

    As named by the late lamented Michael Crichton

    “Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.””

  6. He’s published his speaking notes on 2nd Feb – there’s a big section titled “Should the Government consider other forms of taxation” with multiple suggestions including a tobin tax but no suggestion of a land value tax.
    3rd Feb on his blog – “I back a Land Value Tax”

    Why did he hold that back from our elected representatives? Someone else could have had his slot if he’s keeping key views to himself.

  7. I found this lying around.

    Facebook is ready to pay $2bn tax . . . but not in UK

    Facebook has set aside more than $2 billion to settle global tax disputes while refusing to give the British taxman a penny, The Times has learnt.
    The social media giant, which paid £4,327 in British corporation tax in 2014, is challenging an audit by Revenue & Customs into its operations between 2010 and 2014.
    Critics have raised fears that Facebook will avoid significant payments as it uses a “double Irish” tax avoidance structure almost identical to that used by Google, which after long negotiations with HMRC settled a ten-year tax inquiry for £130 million last month. Last night Google’s parent company overtook Apple to become the world’s biggest corporation, valued at $547 billion (£380 billion).
    None of the 870,000 ordinary British taxpayers issued with fixed-penalty notices after missing Sunday’s self-assessment deadline will have the opportunity to negotiate with HMRC. The £100 penalties, which are payable even if no tax is due and which increase by £10 per day after three months to a maximum of £900, is expected to raise £87 million for HMRC this year. They will only be waived for exceptional reasons such as the death of a close relative or a life-threatening illness, tax officials said.
    Facebook promised in its latest UK accounts to “defend any and all such claims” raised by HMRC as part of tax reassessments and said that it was only “possible, but not probable” that it would have to pay anything more. Accounts filed in the US last week revealed that it accepted a $2.46 billion liability in respect of “uncertain tax positions” arising from investigations in countries including the US and Ireland. The liability is more than double the $1.19 billion set aside in 2014.
    Britain’s investigation is not specifically mentioned in the US filing. A Facebook spokesman said that the omission did not mean that the company would not pay any back taxes due to HMRC, and that its goal was to “engage constructively with all of the parties involved”.
    Last night politicians demanded that HMRC recoup a fair proportion of Facebook’s $2.4 billion fund. The company has for years been accused of legally avoiding tax in Britain by registering sales of digital advertising through Ireland as well as minimising taxable British profits by issuing share options to UK-based staff.
    “It would be very worrying if yet another multinational technology company got an easy ride from the British taxman,” John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said. “Now we know that Facebook has set aside this money George Osborne must make sure Britain gets its fair share.”
    HMRC’s failure to challenge Google could stymie its negotiations with Facebook, experts warned. While officials in France and Italy accused Google of artificially shifting profits out of the country and have claimed hundreds of millions of euros in fines and back taxes, HMRC chose not to dispute the company’s claim that it did not have a “permanent establishment” in Britain.
    Facebook and Google both use Ernst & Young as accountants and are instructing the same Irish solicitor. Both register their British sales in Ireland and reduce their tax bills further by transferring billions of pounds to even lower-tax jurisdictions; in Google’s case to Bermuda, in Facebook’s to the Cayman Islands.
    Google’s public policy team includes former advisers to Tony Blair, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and David Miliband. Facebook’s head of public policy, Rishi Saha, once worked as the director of digital communications for No 10, while Karim Palant, its public policy manager, was a head of policy for Ed Balls when he was shadow chancellor.
    A Facebook spokesman said: “We are always in discussions with tax authorities in the countries in which we operate and this is a normal part of doing business for all large companies.”

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