Nigel calls on the Government to increase multi-national tax transparency

Following the news regarding the £130million tax settlement between Google and HMRC over the weekend, the Government was called to Parliament to make a statement which you can read here. A number of my constituents have raised concerns with me about multi-national company tax avoidance in the past and I took this opportunity to represent my constituents concerns and ask the Minister to introduce measures to allow for greater tax transparency.

The settlement announced over the weekend will see Google pay its fair share of tax on profits made in the UK and it will include collecting tax on both future profits and the profits made in the previous decade. I am pleased that the Government is working to address the perfectly legitimate public anger that larger corporations have not been paying enough tax by tightening tax laws and introducing the Diverted Profits Tax. However, to improve and restore public confidence and address public anger over multi-national companies’ failure to pay enough tax, I think the Government need to go further.

To raise my concerns, I asked the Government to force large companies to publish their tax returns, alongside their tax strategies to improve transparency and confidence in the UK tax system. You can read the Minister’s reply below. I am encouraged by the steps the Government has taken so far, however I do think we need more transparency, so I will continue to raise this matter in Parliament, representing the concerns of my constituents.

You can read the full text of my exchange with the Minister below. You can read his statement to the House regarding HMRC’s settlement with Google here.

Nigel Mills MP for Amber Valley: When the Minister makes large businesses publish their tax strategy, will he also make them publish their tax returns so that we can all see how much tax they are declaring and how they got from their cash profit to that tax bill? That would improve transparency and confidence in the system.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke: The United Kingdom’s position on taxpayer confidentiality is hardly unique. Indeed, it is the mainstream approach. Knowing what a company’s tax liability might be depends on a detailed understanding of the whereabouts of its assets and activities, and not all of that information would necessarily be apparent from a straight tax return. As I have said, there is greater transparency now because companies have to set out their strategies, which has never been the case before.