A Top Google Executive Said He Doesn’t Know How Much He’s Paid
During a hearing regarding Google’s (GOOGL) controversial £130 million corporate tax settlement with the U.K. Thursday, a top company executive told officials there he didn’t know how much he was paid.
The president of Google Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Matt Brittin, was asked if he understood why the average U.K. citizen was outraged by the tax deal during a parliamentary hearing to investigate how Google and the U.K.’s taxation body arrived at the sum.
When Brittin responded that he understood the public’s anger, public accounts committee Chairwoman Meg Hiller responded, “Do you really understand the anger Mr. Brittin? What do you get paid, Mr. Brittin?”
He initially steered away from giving a figure and said, “I’ll happily disclose that if it’s a relevant matter for the committee.”
When Hiller insisted that the figure was relevant and asked for a base salary, Brittin said, “It’s a salary, I don’t have the figure, but I’ll happily provide the figure privately if it’s relevant to the committee.”
“My point is, out there, taxpayers, our constituents, are very angry,” Hiller responded. “They live in a different world, clearly, from the world you live in if you can’t tell us what you’re actually paid.”
A representative for Google would not comment on Brittin’s testimony.
The controversy stemmed from Google’s use of Ireland’s low corporate tax rate. The company effectively channeled income through holdings in Ireland to avoid paying millions or more dollars in taxes, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The tax deal struck between U.K. tax officials and the multinational tech giant was heavily criticized after its announcement late January, with many politicians and tax experts claiming that £130 million was a fraction of the 10-years of back taxes owed. Google makes roughly 10% of its global sales from the U.K., according to Politico.
The crackdown on Google’s potential tax avoidance practices has continued to grow. Officials in Italy are probing the company for possibly evading €227 million worth of taxes, Reuters reported Thursday.