Queries over Google's claim of carrying out all sales from Dublin office
SOME of Google's clients have questioned its assertion that it does not sell to customers from its London office, a key plank in its ability to operate almost tax-free in Britain, a poll said yesterday.
Meanwhile, the company began amending advertisements for London-based jobs on its website, which previously said that candidates would have to achieve "sales quotas" and "drive revenues".
Google says it sells all advertising in the UK, France and Germany from its Dublin office.
'The Drum', a magazine for marketing professionals, asked 80 ad buyers and digital agencies – companies that purchase advertising products on behalf of clients – about their dealings with Google's London office and their interaction with the office in Dublin.
Of the 29 that replied to the survey, "almost 80pc of respondents said they dealt with London when buying Google advertising. Around 14pc said they used Dublin, the remainder said they did not know", an article posted on 'The Drum' website said.
Google declined to comment yesterday on the details of the survey.
Corporate tax avoidance has become a hot political issue in Britain amid austerity measures to pay for the banking crisis.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is working to address the problem and plans to put it on the agenda for the G8 meeting of the world's largest economies to be held in Northern Ireland in June.
From 2006 to 2011, Google generated $18bn (€13.7bn) in revenues from Britain but Google UK paid just $16m in taxes, its accounts show.
"When asked what they considered they were doing when dealing with Google's London team, 76pc said they considered they were buying from them. Some 17pc said they were receiving general advice in order to buy through Dublin," the 'Drum' report added.
When asked what they considered to be the primary role of Google's London ad team, 80pc said "sales", while 17pc said "support", the report said.
Earlier this week, British lawmakers said they planned to call Google back to testify to a parliamentary committee after Reuters revealed the company advertised for UK staff to "negotiate" and "close" deals.
A Google executive told the committee in November that UK staff did not sell to clients.
Google said: "We accept that the wording of some job adverts may have been confusing and we are working to make it clearer."