The social media firms’s latest UK accounts show that profits last year jumped by 54% to £96.6m. Facebook’s total tax charge on those profits almost doubled to £30.4m, but was reduced due to adjustments.Tax campaigner and MP Margaret Hodge said such a low bill was “outrageous”, but Facebook said it pays what it owes.
Gross revenues from advertising and other activities rose 30% in 2018, a year when the Cambridge Analytica affair was at its height and the company was facing heavy criticism.The UK division spent £356m on research, development and engineering in the UK last year, the accounts filed at Companies House showed. Facebook said it complies with tax laws in all jurisdictions and pays what is legally due.
Dame Margaret Hodge, a Labour MP who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Responsible Tax, criticised the amount of UK tax paid by Facebook as too low, following a tax bill of just £7.4m in 2017. “One year later and little has changed,” she tweeted. “These big corporations simply must pay more tax. They rely on our infrastructure, our expertise and our sales, so they must pay their fair share into society. Still outrageous”.
Steve Hatch, vice president for Northern Europe at Facebook, said, “The UK is now one of Facebook’s most important hubs for global innovation. We continue to grow and invest heavily in the UK and by the end of the year we’ll employ 3,000 people here. These high-skilled jobs are not only working on products like WhatsApp and Workplace but also help develop technology to proactively detect and remove malicious content from our platforms. Businesses across the country use our platforms to grow, and revenue from customers supported by our UK teams is now recorded here so that any taxable profit is subject to UK corporation tax.”