UK Politics

Ministers back tax disclosure plan amid pressure from MPs

Multinationals and tax protesters Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tax campaigners say multinational firms are paying a fraction of their true liabilities

A cross-party call for multinational companies to publish details of where they do their business and the tax they pay has been agreed by the government.

The move for greater transparency follows controversy over a deal between the UK government and Google to repay £130m in back taxes earlier this year.

Ministers have accepted proposals that would oblige Revenue and Customs in principle to release data on tax paid.

The amendment to the Finance Bill had been backed by 60 MPs.

Speaking in the Commons during a debate on the proposed legislation, Treasury minister Jane Ellison said the government strongly believed in "greater tax transparency and greater public disclosure of the tax affairs of large businesses".

"For these reasons the government fully supports the intentions of the amendment and is supporting its inclusion in the bill," she added.

Caroline Flint, the Labour MP who proposed the amendment, said she and her colleagues on the Public Accounts Committee believed the way that global multinationals "play the system denies a fair take for HMRC which impacts on our public services".

This, she added, was "very unfair to those British taxpayers and businesses for whom such complicated organisation of their tax affairs is not an option".

The Treasury's "sweetheart deal" with US technology giant Google earlier this year, which covered money owed since 2005, was criticised as derisory by critics. The settlement followed a six-year inquiry by Revenue and Customs.

Last month, the European Commission ruled that Ireland should recover up to €13bn (£11bn) from fellow tech company Apple in back taxes.

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