New analysis has shown that the top five tech companies in the UK managed to get away with avoiding £1.3 billion in tax in 2018.
Research by TaxWatch shows that Google, Cisco, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple managed to make away with lean tax bills despite making handsome profits.
The companies only paid a combined total of £237 million in taxes on profits in the UK, an effective tax rate of just 2.9 per cent.
The latest figures are an update on TaxWatch’s 2018 study, Still Crazy After All These Years, which looked at the activities of five of the largest technology companies in the world over the period 2013-2017.
Post-Brexit ‘free ports’
The research has been released as the Conservative unveiled plans for post-Brexit ‘free ports’ which could increase tax avoidance.
Ministers claim the new “business and enterprise hubs” will create thousands of jobs, but Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the move was the initiative of a “far right” Government.
He said: “This is the revival of a failed Thatcherite plan from the 1980s, designed to cut away at regulation and our tax base.
“There is very little solid evidence that so-called free ports create jobs or boost economic growth, showing this up as another ideological move from a far-right government.
“This plan only represents a ‘levelling-up’ for the super-rich, who will use free ports to hoard assets and avoid taxes while the rest of us feel the effects of under-funded public services.”