Friday, October 22, 2010

Google is evil

Google's motto is famously "Don't be evil". So why are they engaging in tax avoidance?

Google, the internet giant which makes profits at a rate of $1m every hour, is shielding billions of dollars from tax across the world by using complex financial structures known in the industry as "the Double Irish" and "the Dutch Sandwich".


The company is pushing the bulk of its non-US business revenues, including all the revenue generated in the UK, through an Irish subsidiary, and then on to the Caribbean tax haven of Bermuda – a structure that tax experts say is entirely legal and is becoming increasingly common among multinational corporations.

Its unquestionably legal. Its also unquestionably evil. Google is using complicated schemes to avoid paying its fair share, in the process robbing governments of billions of dollars. And we all suffer as a result, through higher personal taxes and inferior government services. A corporation which truly believed in not being evil, in not maximising short-term profit at the expense of the public interest, wouldn't do that.