Thursday, October 11, 2012

Facebook: Tax cheats

Who'd have thunk it? Facebook are tax cheats:

Facebook was accused last night of "disingenuous and immoral" tax avoidance after a new analysis of its UK business suggested the social networking giant paid just £238,000 in corporation tax in Britain last year.

Although industry experts estimate the company made £175m in revenue from its UK businesses last year, Facebook is able to avoid paying millions in corporation tax by diverting most of its sales via Ireland.

Annual accounts published yesterday at Companies House showed Facebook UK Limited declared turnover of £20.4m using the entirely legal scheme. Yet Enders Analysis, an independent research firm, has estimated Facebook's likely UK sales at £175m last year as the world's biggest social networking website has continued to attract advertisers.

The Independent is dubbing them "the antisocial network". It seems entirely appropriate. People and companies who avoid their taxes are social cheats. They take the benefits of society - not least a business environment which allows them to operate without having their offices pillaged by angry mobs - without paying for them. And that is decidedly antisocial.

Meanwhile, now I'm wondering whether Facebook does this here. Perhaps some enterprising business journalist would care to look into it?