Home Technology Google Back In The Hot Seat Over U.K. Tax Questions

Google Back In The Hot Seat Over U.K. Tax Questions

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will face questioning again by U.K. authorities in connection with its tax practices. Last week, CEO Eric Schmidt defended the company’s tax practices in the U.K., saying that it complies with all of the country’s tax regulations.

Today Reuters reports that Google executives and representatives from its auditor will be called to testify in front of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee. The committee is looking into inconsistencies in how Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) portrays its actions in the country.

Investigation Into Google’s Tax Practices

An investigation by Reuters highlighted those inconsistencies. It found that although Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) executive Matt Brittin claimed that the search giant doesn’t make sales to U.K. customers from the U.K., some of the company’s staff members and customers in the U.K. believe that it does.

Experts say if staff members in the U.K. do sell to customers in the U.K., the search giant’s tax status in the nation would change. As a result, it would possibly pay much higher tax bills.

Google’s Advertisements For Sales Team Members

Brittin had told the Public Accounts Committee late last year that Google has “a couple of hundred” staff members at its Dublin headquarters who sell to clients in the U.K. However, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s corporate website said the company has sales teams in London, and the company itself advertises jobs for sales team members in London. The responsibilities listed under those job advertisements include “negotiating deals” and meeting “quarterly sales quotas,” among other duties.

Reuters said interviews with customers and former Google staff members indicate that there are a number of positions in London which actually focus on targeting, negotiating and closing sales with customers in the U.K. Also approximately 150 Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) employees who are based in London and have profiles on LinkedIn say they help with sales strategy, closing deals and other sales duties.

Brittin denies that he misled the committee and, and External Relations Director Peter Barron said that some of the job listings for positions in the U.K. refer to sales skills because they’re looking for people with that kind of background. He said some job advertisements may be “confusing” in their wording and that they are working to make those listings “clearer.”