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October 12, 2015

Do you pay more UK tax than Facebook?

News: Internet giant uses share schemes to duck tax.

By Alexander Sword

Facebook is under fire after it was revealed that it paid less than £5000 in corporation tax last year.

The internet mogul’s UK operation paid its 362 staff shares worth £35.4 million, pushing the firm into an accounting loss and allowing it to slash its corporation tax bill.

According to the report in the Sunday Times, HM Revenue and Customs collected only £4327 from Facebook in 2014, less than is paid by many UK workers.

Moves by tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon and Google, as well as other multinationals such as Starbucks to avoid tax are attracting increasing scrutiny from public bodies.

On 5 October the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) finished presenting measures in a two-year reform programme called the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project, which aims to tackle tax avoidance.

According to the statement from the OECD, some estimates put revenue losses from BEPS at $100-240 billion per year.

An HMRC spokesperson said:

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"HMRC are clear that multinational companies must pay the tax that is due and we do not settle for less.

"That is why the government has led the way in taking action to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of taxes.

"We have also played a critical role in establishing the OECD project to strengthen international tax standards to help counter profit shifting and introduced the Diverted Profits Tax to make it harder for multinational companies to divert their profits out of the UK.?"

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