Google, Amazon, Starbucks admit: 'we hardly pay anything'

MULTINATIONAL companies are paying little or no tax on their earnings in Britain, angry MPs have charged at an unusual hearing involving Starbucks, Google and Amazon.

MPs were sceptical, for example, about the coffee chain Starbucks' claim that it is not making profits in Britain.

In sometimes bitter exchanges, MPs said they could not accept that Starbucks had reported losses for all but one of the 15 years it has operated in the UK, suspecting the firm was attempting to minimise the taxes it pays in Britain.

"You have run the business for 15 years and are losing money and you are carrying on investing here. It just doesn't ring true," said Margaret Hodge, head of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee on Monday.

Troy Alstead, Starbucks global chief financial officer, acknowledged to the panel that its taxable profits in the UK are calculated after royalties paid to its European headquarters in the Netherlands have been deducted. Alstead acknowledged that it has a special tax arrangement with the Dutch government covering its headquarters.

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