The UK tax office has defended Vodafone’s record on tax payments, after protestors blockaded the carrier’s flagship London store claiming it has cheated the system.
Protestors claim Vodafone has got off lightly after paying just £1.25 billion (€1.4 billion) to settle a long-running tax dispute over its 2000 acquisition of Germany-based Mannesmann, despite setting aside £2.2 billion to cover the tax bill.
But a spokesman for the customs office told FT.com that Vodafone is a responsible company that meets all its tax obligations in each country where it operates, adding that the settlement was agreed “after a full and rigorous examination,” of the case.
Close to 50 protestors blockaded Vodafone’s flagship store in London yesterday, after some reports said the carrier owed around £6 billion in tax for the Mannesmann acquisition.
Some pointed out that the £6 billion would have been enough to prevent sharp cuts in public spending announced by the government last week, and said the firm should pay its taxes if it wants to operate in the country.
A Vodafone spokesman said the £6 billion figure was wrong, and that the firm never owed that much, FT.com said.
The tax office called the figure an “urban myth,” and said no liability was established beyond the £1.25 billion agreed, Sky News reported.