Google and the taxman

The world of anyone working in SEO is dominated by Google, perhaps to an unhealthy degree it is, what we eat and breath.  Google has come in for a lot of stick in recent years especially in relation to privacy issues and is also increasingly Master of the Online Universe which is worrying.  I am thinking of the way in which it dominates the online
space, even to the point of requiring direction from US Justice Department to limit its control of the online travel space following its acquitision of ITA.

But we all know Google’s motto, ‘Don’t be Evil’ and to some extent it has managed to retain for itself some of the internet’s original ethos of generosity and openness, the
brand of Larry Page and Sergey Brin developing this massive wonderful technology to open information up to the whole world.

Well that’s one idea.  A very different view of what Google has become is outlined in the Sunday Times article (May 29th) on Google’s brilliance at tax avoidance.  The amount
of US, UK, and Irish tax that Google has managed not to pay is eye watering.  But then before we are too critical and moralistic about it, who of us pays more tax than we
legally have to and given the opportunity to rearrange out affairs to reduce our tax liability, which of us would say ‘but it is my civic duty to pay tax’?

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that a company capable of developing such an awesome tool as the Google search engine is more than capable of developing a ‘tax efficient’
financial and corporate structure.  Is this the  internet losing its innocence and growing up into a corporate adult?

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