If a firm can generate billions of dollars in sales and only pay minimal tax rates, is it fair?
Reuters reports that executives from Google, Amazon, and Starbucks will be queried today by the U.K.'s Public Accounts Committee.
The questions that will arise are whether these firms are conducting themselves fairly in light of the current economic climate, and whether the amount of tax paid in the U.K. by each company is acceptable when they make millions abroad -- or use legal maneuvering to pay as little as possible when the taxman comes knocking.
The Public Accounts Committee, which keeps an eye on governmental finances, has asked the companies to provide evidence and commentary on their financial practices. Amid growing annoyance over austerity measures and job losses in Europe and amid multiple reports that a number of enterprises -- including Apple, IBM, and Microsoft -- are avoiding the same measures that the general public must cope with, European powers are now pushing through proposals that will make companies pay their "fair share."
A Google spokesperson told ZDNet in August: "We comply with all the tax rules in the U.K. We make a big contribution to the U.K. economy by employing over a thousand people, helping hundreds of thousands of businesses to grow online and investing millions supporting new tech businesses in East London."
CNET has contacted Google, Amazon and Starbucks and will update the story when we hear back from them.