Google denies pressure over tax

THE head of Google Australia has rejected the suggestion that the company is under siege from tax authorities around the world, despite governments saying they intend to crack down on tax minimisation by multinationals.

THE head of Google Australia has rejected the suggestion that the company is under siege from tax authorities around the world, despite governments saying they intend to crack down on tax minimisation by multinationals.

In November, the Assistant Treasurer, David Bradbury, took the unprecedented step of criticising Google and Apple. Google Australia claims it paid tax of $781,000 in 2011 on estimated revenue of at least $1 billion. But its accounts show the tech giant paid a little more than $74,000 in tax.

"If enormous multinational corporations aren't paying their fair share of tax on economic activity in Australia, then that's not fair game," Mr Bradbury said at the time.

An expert panel set up by Mr Bradbury has recommended changes designed to make more information public about how much tax multinationals pay.

However, on Wednesday, the managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, Nick Leeder, said: "We don't feel particularly under siege. We understand the issue and it is an important issue."

He said it could only be resolved through international co-operation and Google looked forward to working with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which has called for an overhaul of international tax laws.

In a report published last week blaming "profit shifting" for eroding the tax base, the OECD warned the practice "constitutes a serious risk to tax revenues, tax sovereignty and tax fairness" around the world.