TaxPayers’ Alliance calls for radical simplification of laws in light of Google scandal

Following the recent controversy over Google’s £130m tax back-payment to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has called for a “radical simplification” of Britain’s tax laws.

TPA’s chief executive, Jonathan Isaby said: “Yet again we have a case that demonstrates why we need radical simplification of our hugely complex tax system”.

The troubled TPA exec added: “People are fed up of politicians pontificating about how much tax companies are paying when they are only playing by the loophole-ridden rules set by those same politicians in the first place.”

The comments come after the Google-HMRC deal was labelled derisory earlier this week, with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell claiming that Google’s back-payment equated to an effective tax rate of just 3%.

Isaby argued that it is “unfair that anyone’s tax bill should be subject to a six-year negotiation with the taxman. But until big chunks of our nearly 21,000-page tax code are torn up and rewritten, public confidence that everyone is paying their fair share will not return”.

Google are by no means the only major player to have landed what John McDonnell calls a “sweetheart” tax deal in the last few years. Retail giant Amazon paid just £11.9 million in tax in 2014, despite taking £5.3 billion in sales from British shoppers, whilst Facebook paid just £4,327 that same year. The social media giant’s accounts showed that the company made a loss of £28.5 million in Britain, after paying out a staggering £35 million solely in staff bonuses.