In August 2018 Ethical Consumer viewed and found that in 2018 Alphabet and its employees had given $3,196,293 in political donations, with 76% going to Democrats.

It had also spent $11,010,000 on political lobbying.


Open Secrets website 2018 (2018)

A report by Transparency International (TI) from 24 June 2015 stated that the overwhelming majority of lobby meetings held by European Commissioners and their closest advisers were with representatives of corporate interests.

Google was one of the most active lobbyists at this level, with 29 meetings, and it was also one of the biggest spenders in Brussels, declaring an EU lobby budget of around 3.5 million euros per year. The company had a total of 9 registered lobbyists.

TI added, however, that this information "is just part of the picture", as lobbying information was voluntarily filed, and according to TI, "much of the information... is inaccurate, incomplete or outright meaningless". The European Commission's new transparency provisions covered only the highest ranking top 1% of EU officials and 20% of the registered lobby organisations.


Lobby meetings with EU policy-makers dominated by corporate interests (24 June 2015)

Conservative party leaders, including Chancellor George Osborne, were meeting with Google every three weeks in the run-up to its ‘sweetheart’ deal with the Treasury, the Mirror reported in January 2016.

Chancellor Mr Osborne, policy chief Oliver Letwin and ex-Tory chairman Grant Shapps were among 17 different Tory Ministers to hold face-to-face talks with Google bosses in at least 25 official meetings over the previous two years.

The details come to light as pressure mounts for an investigate into a deal struck between Google and HMRC that sees them paying the equivalent of just 3% in corporation tax on their vast profits in the ten years from 2005.

The Mirror adds that "there is no suggestion any rules were broken, and it is understood the meetings covered a broad range of topics."

However the paper questions the links between the company and the current tax deal as private talks were held every three to four weeks over two year period as the tax deal was being struck.

The paper also lists the following examples of teh closeness between the two organisations

The Tories spent £312,000 on Google adverts in the run-up to the May election. (Labour spent just £371.)

Google chairman Eric Schmidt spent five years as a business adviser to the Prime Minister between 2009 and 2015,

Schmidt also gave the keynote speech at the Tory Party conference last year.

Mr Osborne and Mr Schmidt have penned several joint articles for British newspapers,

Mr Osborne and Mr Schmidt attended the secretive Bilderberg conference together last year.

David Cameron has twice spoken at Google’s own conferences.

Mr Cameron also accepted a £14,000 trip to Google’s HQ in 2007, and met with Google bosses three times after becoming PM.

CCHQ spin doctor Amy Fisher is a former Google press officer, while backbench Tory MP Nigel Huddleston only quit his job with Google last May.


Labour riven again as ruling committee boycotts G4S over links to Israel (26 November 2015)

In September 2019 Ethical Consumer viewed Alphabet's family tree on the corporate information website According to Hoovers the company had three subsidiaries listed as holding companies and based in Bermuda - a jursidication which was on Ethical Consumer's tax haven list at the time of writing. The company also had subsidiaries in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Ireland, although these were not considered at high risk of being used for tax avoidance purposes.

According to Google's parent Alphabet's 10K form which was downloaded from the SEC, the company was registered in Delaware. Delaware was at the time of writing considered by Ethical Consumer to be a tax haven jurisidiction. The form contained no country-by-country reporting.

Google had also been heavily criticised by several countries around the world for its tax avoidance methods. This included France who in March 2016 raided its offices following an investigation into its tax affairs.

As a result Google received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for likely use of tax avoidance strategies.


Generic Hoovers ref 2019 (2 January 2019)

In 2015 the BBC reported that an agreement that would see US tech firm Google pay £130m in UK back taxes was labelled as "derisory" and a "sweetheart deal" by critics.

The payment covered money owed since 2005 and followed a six-year inquiry by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Richard Murphy, from the Fair Tax Mark, estimated Google should be paying £200m every year in Corporation Tax.

He said the figure was based on the firm's declared profit margins and sales in Britain in 2014 of £4.5bn.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Labour's Mr McDonnell called for greater transparency, saying it looked like a "sweetheart deal".
"HMRC seems to have settled for a relatively small amount in comparison with the overall profits that are made by the company in this country. And some of the independent analysts have argued that it should be at least 10 times this amount," he said.
"It looks to me from all the independent analysis that this is relatively trivial in comparison with what should have been paid. In fact one analysis has put the rate down to about 3%, which I think is derisory," he added.

Google paid £20.4m in UK taxes in 2013. The value of its British sales that year was £3.8bn. Google makes most of its UK profits through online advertising.
Google knows that the Diverted Profits Tax (known as the "Google Tax") which came into force last year will mean it will have to pay more to HMRC.
On top of that, the OECD has come up with much stricter international rules for 'Base Erosion and Profit Shifting' or aggressive tax avoidance.
Taxes on profits should soon be paid where the economic activity takes place rather than where the company is domiciled or registered.
Google currently routes its UK sales through Ireland which it will no longer be able to do.
Matt Brittin, head of Google Europe, told the BBC: "Today we announced that we are going to be paying more tax in the UK.
"The rules are changing internationally and the UK government is taking the lead in applying those rules so we'll be changing what we are doing here. We want to ensure that we pay the right amount of tax."

Reference: (25 January 2016)

A report published by Citizens for Tax Justice on 6 October 2015 criticized US tax policy on large multinational corporations. Many multinational corporations used accounting tricks to pretend that a substantial portion of their profits were generated in offshore tax havens, countries with minimal or no taxes where a company’s presence could be as little as a mailbox.

The study examined the use of tax havens by Fortune 500 companies in 2014. It revealed that tax haven use was ubiquitous among America’s largest companies and that a narrow set of companies benefited disproportionately.

Amongst these companies Google was found to maintain two subsidiaries in a tax haven: Ireland. The amount held offshore was $47.4 billion. Neither the overall rate of the tax paid on this overseas cash, nor any estimate of the US tax avoided, were disclosed.

The report noted that "Google reported operating 25 subsidiaries in tax havens in 2009, but since 2010 it had only disclosed two, both in Ireland. During that period, it increased the amount of profits it had booked offshore from $7.7 billion to $47.4 billion. As noted above, an academic analysis found that as of 2012, the 23 no-longer-disclosed tax haven subsidiaries were still operating. Google uses accounting techniques nick-named the “double Irish” and the “Dutch sandwich,” according to a Bloomberg investigation. Using two Irish subsidiaries, one of which is headquartered in Bermuda, Google shifts profits through Ireland and the Netherlands to Bermuda, shrinking its tax bill by approximately $2 billion a year."


Offshore Shell Games 2015 (5 October 2015)