Facebook pays no UK tax while London staff get shares
FACEBOOK looks set to spark a fresh row over offshore tax avoidance as UK accounts showed it paid no corporation tax for the second year in a row while granting shares worth tens of millions of pounds to London staff.
Research firm eMarketer estimates Facebook's London operation in Euston made £371 million in revenues last year, up from £223 million a year earlier.
However, the accounts show lower revenues because Facebook processes much of its British sales in low-tax Ireland.
Facebook UK declared revenues of £49.8 million and a pre-tax loss of £11.6 million.
The social media giant incurred a tax charge of just £3,200 and ended up receiving a credit of £182,000 because of adjustments for prior years.
Yet the US parent company is highly profitable, reporting a net profit of $1.5 billion (£900 million) last year.
The company ran up a £15.5 milion cost for "share-based payment" for its 208 London staff but they got far bigger windfalls.
UK staff collected more than 1.5 million free shares which were "settled" and are worth about $119 million (£72.5 million), based on Facebook's present stock price above $78.