Embarrassment for HMRC over advertising figures

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) spends six times the amount advertising on Facebook than the social media site pays in tax, it was claimed this week.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request by reporters at Channel 4 news revealed that last year the web giant was paid £27,000 by the tax authority to promote its services.

By contrast, the previous year Facebook had paid a paltry £4,327 in tax.

And ironically, many of the adverts that HMRC had posted on the site were to offer advice to people and businesses about how to pay their taxes.

A HMRC spokesman said: “Like all large organisations we find that an increasing number of those we serve communicate through and get their information from social media.

“Our investment in social media is carefully evaluated to ensure we are getting maximum value for the taxpayer.”

Facebook is one of several companies to come under increased scrutiny over its tax arrangements and has been accused of paying a corporation tax rate which effectively amounts to a little over three per cent.

In a statement issued following Channel 4’s probe, Facebook said: “We are compliant with UK tax law and in fact all countries where we have employees and offices.”