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Facebook's tiny UK tax bill draws scorn

Monday, October 12, 2015 - 01:42

UK tax payers have reacted angrily to a Sunday Times newspaper report that suggests the social network giant Facebook paid just £4,327 in UK corporation tax last year.

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All quiet in north London, as the criticism of Facebook's apparently tiny tax bill grows louder. A day after the accusations first surfaced, there are few signs of concern at the social media giant's UK headquarters. But the figures are certainly raising eyebrows elsewhere. Britain's Sunday Times claims the company paid just £4,327 in UK corporation tax last year. That amounts to slightly less than the annual tax paid by the average British worker. Which doesn't seem nearly enough for a company valued at 276 billion dollars. Leaving many to ask why. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LONDON RESIDENT, VICKY PARKER, SAYING: "No that's outrageous, I don't understand how they can get away with it to be honest." (SOUNDBITE) (English) LONDON TOURIST, JONATHAN ROSS, SAYING "I think that's way too little, that's not very much." (SOUNDBITE) (English) LONDON RESIDENT, D K MATAI, SAYING: "It's not just them, there are many other players in the industry who are doing the same thing." (SOUNDBITE) (English) LONDON RESIDENT, RICHARD BURCHNALL, SAYING: "What they're doing is legal, so it's up to us to push our MPs to change the law." But any law change looks distant, says BGC's Mike Ingram. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BGC PARTNERS' MARKET STRATEGIST, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "Ultimately I think the only way this is going to be solved is if you actually get a higher degree of corporation tax harmonisation, and I think that is still a long way off. It strikes at the autonomy of governments, of democracy, and some very very big questions which will take years - if ever - to solve." Technology giants are seen as the masters of exploiting tax loopholes. But new proposals from the OECD could put a stop to that, by changing the rules to stop multinationals playing the system. A move that Facebook almost certainly won't "like".

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Facebook's tiny UK tax bill draws scorn

Monday, October 12, 2015 - 01:42