Netflix paid just £3.2million in UK corporation tax in 2019 despite income from 11milion British subscribers reaching close to £1billion by claiming it is spending huge sums on shows like The Crown and 'talent' such as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, it was revealed today.
The streaming giant, which has enjoyed an even better 2020 as millions more people signed up because of the coronavirus pandemic, recorded a pre-tax profit of £13million in its most recent accounts.
The £3.2m corporation tax bill - paid on declared UK profits rather than its giant revenues - is still the most it has ever paid since it launched eight years ago.
Netflix funnels hundreds of millions of pounds of UK monthly fees through its headquarters in the Netherlands, meaning its profits are mainly taxed at the lower Dutch rate.
But the streaming giant insists that it puts almost half its revenues back into TV and films. Among those benefitting are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who are expected to earn up to £190million producing shows on their pet projects.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
These costs are used to legally reduce profits Netflix is taxed on, but has caused outrage online among Britons urging them to 'pay more tax'.
Netflix paid a minuscule £3.2million in UK corporation tax in 2019 despite revenues heading towards £1billion
Netflix is claiming profits are low because of the amount it spends of productions like The Crown
Subscribers' cash is also paid out to 'talent', including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle who recently signed a deal said to be worth £190million
The tax avoidance measure to send British sales out of the country to EU countries with lower tax rates such as Holland, Ireland and Luxembourg is also used by other tech giants such as Apple, Google and Amazon.
But Facebook said in December it was winding up its Irish holding firms, ending a financial set-up allowing Mark Zuckerberg's firm to shift billions in profits through Ireland largely untaxed.
Facebook: Voice and video calls on Messenger and WhatsApp are at more than double usual levels. Facebook's UK arm paid £28million in corporation tax in 2018. It had pre-tax profits of £97million and revenues of £1.6billion. The company is trying to deal with coronavirus conspiracy theories and has given cash grants and advertising credits to thousands of small firms.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Amazon: The lockdown has caused a huge leap in online shopping but the company has been criticised for an alleged lack of safety precautions at its warehouses. Amazon's UK division paid £14million in taxes in 2018, when it had a pre-tax profit of £75.4million and a turnover of £2.4billion. It is helping the NHS to predict where ventilators, hospital beds and medical staff will be most needed.
Google: Google searches of 'coronavirus' no longer show adverts, suggestions or links to profit-seeking sites. News, government sites, health services and approved advice on prevention are prioritised instead. It has pledged $800million to support small businesses. It paid £44million in corporation tax in 2019. The UK branch recorded £1.6billion in revenue.
Apple: Apple paid £3.8million in UK tax in 2018. It had £1.2billion in sales, and its pre-tax profits were £33.7million. The European Commission ruled that Apple's banking of European profits in Ireland is unlawful, and that it must pay £12.3billion in back taxes and interest. Apple is collaborating with Google to add software to smartphones which would make it easier to use Bluetooth technology to track down people who may have been infected.
A Netflix spokesman said: 'We pay all the taxes required and are committed to paying an active role in supporting British production and creative talent for the long term.
'We are proud to be increasing our investment in the UK's creative industries, helping to create thousands of jobs and showcasing British storytelling and culture to the world.'
Campaigners from the Taxwatch thinktank believe that Neflix's international arm outside the US transferred up to £330million in taxable profits made in countries like the UK to low-tax jurisdictions such as the Netherlands, according to The Guardian.
Multiple UK lockdowns are expected to send its revenues through the £1billion barrier and is expected to lead to a bigger tax bill next year.
But this could be offset by the extraordinary $1billion budget set aside for original content including 50 shows such as The Crown, The Pope and Bridgerton.
Technology firms including Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon have pleaded that they should not have to pay a newly-imposed UK digital services tax.
The 2 per cent tax came into force last March as the Government tries to clamp down on profits and cash being moved to countries with lower tax levels.
It will affect at least 30 firms with more than £500million of global revenues, but TechUK said it fears more companies will be caught by the tax than intended.
The new levy will mean California-based Google alone will see 2 per cent of its £1.6billion sales in the UK taxed, bringing in an extra £32million for the Treasury.
Last Autumn retail giant Amazon will not by impacted by a new digital services tax - but traders who use the site will be, the HMRC revealed.
In June Rishi Sunak signed a letter alongside counterparts in France, Spain and Italy declaring that tech giants needed to 'pay