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Google’s UK tax payment jumps 300% on soaring profits

Google's UK tax
LONDON- JANUARY, 2019: Exterior of Google's London headquarters in Kings Cross

Google’s UK tax payments have increased by 300% from £50m to £200m, according to the tech giant’s most recent company filings.

Turnover on UK operations at the search and advertising behemoth soared to £3.4bn over the same period, up from the £1.8bn in the year ended June 2020. Profit increased from £226m to £896m for the 18 months ended 31 December 2021.

Google has had a physical presence in the UK since it opened its first London office back in 2003. Earlier this year, the company unveiled its plans for a new skyscraper London office, reportedly worth £1bn.

Google employs around 6,400 staff in the UK but is looking to boost that figure to around 10,000 once the new site is ready.

Many of the largest US tech companies have established a UK presence over the years, often drawing criticism for paying minimal amounts of tax to the government compared with their enormous revenues.

“Our global effective income tax rate over the past decade has been close to 20% of our profits, in line with average statutory tax rates,” said a spokesperson for Google.

“We have long supported efforts via the OECD to update international tax rules to arrive at a system where more taxing rights are allocated to countries where products and services are consumed.”

The British government has often tried to encourage these mega-corporations to continue operating in the country with tax incentives. In July, Amazon was granted a £1m tax credit from HM Revenue and Customs, which was said to be due to an accounting adjustment to the 2020 accounts. Amazon’s UK revenue at the time was around £23.19bn.

Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are all currently under investigation by the UK regulator Ofcom over alleged unfair dominance over the cloud computing market.