LONDON May 9 A panel of UK lawmakers will next
week grill representatives from Google Inc and its auditor Ernst
& Young, following a Reuters report which highlighted
inconsistencies in Google's statements about its UK activities.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said on its website that
the representatives would testify on Thursday May 16.
Google has attracted the ire of British lawmakers for the
way it pays almost no income tax on billions of dollars of UK
sales each year.
At an earlier hearing in November, Google's Northern Europe
boss, Matt Brittin, said that all UK sales were conducted from
Ireland and that no sales took place from Britain.
At a PAC hearing in January, John Dixon, head of tax policy
at Ernst & Young in London, told lawmakers his firm checked to
ensure a tax client's activities on the ground matched what was
claimed in their accounts.
Last week, the committee's chairwoman, Margaret Hodge, said
she planned to recall Google and Ernst & Young, after Reuters
revealed that the Internet search giant had described its London
offices on its website as a base for sales teams, and advertised
dozens of London-based sales vacancies.
Google declined comment on the scheduled hearing but
referred to its comments last week, before it received a formal
invitation, in which it denied that Brittin had misled the PAC
in November and said it would be happy to testify to the
committee again to explain its position.
Ernst & Young declined comment.
Last week a spokeswoman said the auditor and tax advisor
stood by Dixon's testimony and said it followed all audit rules.