by Steve Beasant on 27 January, 2016
Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West Greg Mulholland has urged Conservative ministers to back small businesses following HMRC’s much criticised deal with Google to pay £130mn of tax.
Google agreed to make a back payment of £130m worth of tax in the UK. But this unravelled after claims that the company had effectively paid an annual rate of corporation tax of just 2.77% over the last decade.
Most British businesses currently pay corporation tax on 20% of their profits. But even after the extra payment, the internet giant is said to have paid just £200m in tax since 2005, on estimated profits in the UK of £7.2bn.
Speaking Monday (25th January) in the House of Commons, during an Urgent Question allowed by the Speaker John Bercow, Greg Mulholland said small businesses would not be allowed to get away and treated as lightly as Google have been. He also criticised HMRC’s treatment of small businesses, with many of their phone calls to HMRC going unanswered.
Addressing treasury ministers, Greg Mulholland said:
“If any of the thousands of wonderful small businesses in this country failed to pay their taxes for 11 years, they would not be sitting negotiating with HMRC; they would be sitting down with the police. Can the Minister therefore understand the anger of small businesses and taxpayers when a quarter of calls to HMRC are not even answered? Will some of this money go into sorting that out?”
Responding, treasury minister David Gauke said that “on customer service, the hon. Gentleman makes a fair point. Taxpayers are understandably exasperated when customer service is not good enough“.
Commenting afterwards, Greg Mulholland said:
“Small businesses would be right to feel they are not getting a fair deal from this Conservative government. Many them work hard and abide by the law, including when it comes to their tax obligations. Google should not be getting away with effectively paying just 3% tax. Clearly the tax system needs tightening up and to be properly enforced. At the same time, HMRC’s high proportion of calls from small businesses that go unanswered is clearly unacceptable.”Leave a comment