£250m bonus pot for Facebook

Picture: Julie Bull
Picture: Julie Bull
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CALLS to “fix” the tax system have come after social media giant Facebook could be set to pay staff at its London HQ share bonuses worth £250 million despite the firm paying less in UK tax last year than a single worker on an average salary.

The bonus sum amounts to payouts of around £690,000 to 362 staff over the next three years, if the US firm hits its targets in the UK, and comes as the company finds itself under increasing pressure about its tax affairs.

The staff payout figure is based on the number of staff shares in issue, London employee numbers and the firm’s current share price.

Facebook, however, said its London staff grew to 850 workers since its 2014 accounts were filed, and that share prices fluctuate, bringing down individual awards.

It emerged earlier this month that Facebook’s UK arm paid just £4,327 in company taxes according to its accounts for last year, less than a single UK worker would pay on an average salary of £26,500.

The accounts showed that the company made an accounting loss of £28.5m in Britain, after it more than doubled its staff share bonus pot to £35.4m. In the year its UK revenues were £105m. A Facebook spokeswoman added: “We are compliant with UK tax law and in fact all countries where we have employees and offices. We continue to grow our business activities in the UK.”

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s high time politicians stop moralising and start taking action to fix the tax system by making taxes simpler and more transparent, so that people begin to trust it again.”

In April, Chancellor George Osborne said firms that move their profits overseas to avoid tax will be subject to a “diverted profits tax”.