HMRC and Google

Mark made the following intervention in the debates on Google’s tax affairs:

Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster) (Con): No one should underestimate the complex nature of trying to tax globally active corporations such as this. It is speculation to talk in terms of the numbers that have been bandied around. However, in view of the Government’s desire to get an international arrangement in place, can the Minister tell us today whether he believes this deal sets some sort of precedent, or is it just a one-off arrangement?

Mr Gauke: The important point to note is that the individual tax affairs depend on the application of the facts in the case; as I have mentioned a number of times, it depends on the economic activity and assets that are held in the UK, or indeed other jurisdictions. But I do think this signifies that companies are looking at their tax arrangements and there is a closer alignment between tax and economic activity, which I certainly welcome. That is what the BEPS—base erosion and profit shifting—process is designed to achieve, and that is what the UK Government have been advocating for some years now, and I believe we are making progress on that.