UK Barrister Sues Uber For £20m+ In Unpaid VAT

By Holly Brockwell on at

A UK tax barrister is suing Uber for tens of millions he says it owes in backdated VAT.

Jolyon Maugham QC, a barrister at Devereux Chambers and founder of The Good Law Project, is suing Uber for unpaid VAT to find out "whether HMRC treats these big US multinationals including Uber with kid gloves."

Maugham told ITV News that Uber should be charging VAT on its ride-hailing services, and owes just shy of £20m just for London in 2015 alone. Since HMRC can claim for up to four previous years' worth of tax - and sometimes more - the total bill could be a whopper.

In fact, if the action succeeds in the UK, it's likely Uber would face similar costs across the EU. The company just lost a similar case in Australia, where the court ruled it must pay the Aussie VAT equivalent, Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Maugham claims that"Uber has undoubtedly arranged its business model to minimise its tax liability — dodge taxes, if you like — and to minimise the workers' rights that it has to offer." He's claiming the money on behalf of the UK taxpayer.

It's another blow in what's already been a beast of a week for Uber, after a former engineer wrote a damning blog post itemising the sexual harassment and sexism she experienced at the company. Uber says it is "urgently investigating." [ITV News via Business Insider]