Matthew Freud criticises Facebook tax bill and calls for UK Government action

The founder and CEO of Freuds has criticised Facebook after the recent revelation of the firm's low UK corporation tax bill, and urged the Government to "consider what it can do to level the playing field".

(Credit: David M. Benett/Getty Images for Unicef)
(Credit: David M. Benett/Getty Images for Unicef)

In an interview with The Guardian, published online today, Matthew Freud said: "We are proud to be a growing UK creative business.

"Our success means that we paid £3m in tax last year, 684 times more than Facebook. Many of our competitors, like Facebook, avail themselves of perfectly legal mechanisms for reducing their tax bill. We don’t, but would urge the Government to consider what it can do to level the playing field so that British businesses paying their fair share of tax in the UK are not disadvantaged."

The article is entitled 'I paid 684 times more tax than Facebook' – a reference to Facebook having paid £4,327 in corporation tax in 2014, as was revealed by The Sunday Times.

By contrast, The Guardian reports that Freuds paid £2.96m in UK corporation tax, and that Freud himself "took home £11.2m last year, a third more than he did in 2013".

While a Facebook statement distributed to media after the Times' story broke said that the firm was "compliant with UK tax law", it has faced substantial criticism over its accounting arrangements.

Earlier this week, the charity ActionAid UK's tax campaign manager wrote in PRWeek that corporate tax avoiders were costing the developing world £130bn every year.

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