The post box in Bermuda numbered 666 which receives Google profits worth £8bn a year
Google has no office, no staff and little more than a plain PO Box numbered 666 on the sunny Caribbean Island of Bermuda.
But it still sends £8billion in profits a year to the island – which happens to have a 0 per cent corporation tax rate.
Google’s communications chief Peter Barron today insisted the billions of pounds funnelled from the search engine’s global network of subsidiaries had no impact on the firm’s tax bill in Britain.
But after a week dominated by criticism of an agreement between Google – which once had the slogan ‘Don’t be Evil’ – and HMRC to pay just £130million in back taxes for the past decade details of the company’s arrangement on Bermuda are set to shock.
Google’s tax bill in Britain is held down by the firm’s insistence it has no ‘permanent’ base here – on the basis all sales in Europe are made via Dublin.
But Google has five major offices in Britain and 5,000 staff working here.
The Sun on Sunday today revealed the Bermudan government’s Registrar of Companies, Google Bermuda Unlimited and Google Ireland Holdings are registered to the address of Conyers Dill and Pearman, a law firm at Clarenden House, 2 Church Street, Hamilton.
The firm is based just a few streets from the PO Box to which Google directs billions in profits.
But Derrick Ward, 51, told The Sun he had no idea Google was based at the building – despite working in the post room for the past four years.
He said: ‘Google don’t have an office in the lawyers’ building. I’m sure we’d know about it if they did.’
He added: ‘If there was a Google HQ on Bermuda it would be clear to see. I hear they have football pitches at their offices. I’ve never met anyone who works for Google in all my life.’
A receptionist at the windowless Bermuda office told the Sun: ‘Google doesn’t have an office here, they don’t employ any staff here.’
But after referring to her computer, the receptionist said that Google Bermuda Unlimited is registered at PO Box 666 through the law firm’s affiliate company, called Codan.
Mr Barron today told the BBC Andrew Marr programme: ‘In the UK we pay corporation tax at 20 per cent – there is no sweetheart deal.
‘We are taxed on the economic activities of Google UK. We pay corporation tax in the UK at 20 per cent.
‘Globally, our effective tax rate over the last five years is roundabout 20 per cent.’
Mr Barron said its new accounts showed Google UK paid £46.2million for the last year, plus £130million for the period of 2005 to 2014.
He insisted the additional payment was the result of six years of cooperation with HMRC to ensure the firm abided by the law.
Mr Barron – a former editor of the BBC’s Newsnight – claimed: ‘Everything we do across the business, we always try to do the right thing.’
He defended Google’s decision to headquarter its European businesses in Ireland and then operate ‘subsidiaries’ in the UK and other European countries.
the coincidence is uncanny..666..really?
“Google don’t have an office in the lawyers’ building. I’m sure we’d know about it if they did.”
oh but they do..
“But after referring to her computer, the receptionist said that Google Bermuda Unlimited is registered at PO Box 666 through the law firm’s affiliate company, called Codan.”