It's difficult to defend the deal announced by HMRC that they accepted a settlement of £130m in back-taxes from Google to cover the past decade. This is Google for goodness sake!
I think Margaret Hodge might have overcooked it a bit by describing it as evil, but it certainly is not fair. Having batteries of well paid advisors helping you to outfox the taxman just doesn't seem very classy to me.
When your domestic competitors all have to pay 20% corporation tax, it makes it very difficult to compete at all. As for Google's, Apple's and others' bleeting that they aren't able to bring their cash piles back to the US without having to pay significant tax bills, I'm afraid sympathy is in short supply.
I, for one, will be keeping an eye on events in Crickhowell. Sadly, I suspect that the Crickhowell Coffee Shop will end up paying more corporation tax than Starbucks.
Margaret Hodge, branded tax avoidance "immoral" and suggested that Google's tax activities were "evil". During PAC hearings, firms have been accused of "siphoning" off profits made in the UK to countries where they pay less tax. The minuscule UK tax bills of firms like Google, Amazon, and Facebook have hit the headlines in recent years – with Facebook paying just £4,327 in corporation tax for 2014. The scandal prompted small businesses in the sleepy Welsh town of Crickhowell to take themselves offshore – a struggle documented by a BBC documentary this week.