Vodafone claims it has been vindicated by a National Audit Office report that said its tax settlement with UK authorities represented 'fair value for the wider taxpaying community'.
The operator had been criticised over a long-running tax dispute. Last year, it settled £1.25bn on a tax bill of more than £6bn. In a report issued overnight, the National Audit Office described the settlement as a 'good one', which represented fair value to the taxpayer. It said that if the settlement had not been reached, it could have gone in front of the courts with the operator standing a 'good chance' of winning.
Welcoming the ruling, Vodafone Group CFO Andy Halford said: 'For more than a year, Vodafone has been falsely accused of improper conduct. As we have consistently stated, those attacks were unwarranted and unjust. We acted with the utmost propriety throughout the HMRC settlement process, and the National Audit Office has now concluded that the outcome was good for the UK taxpayer. We welcome this vindication. Vodafone has always been a responsible company with a strong commitment to managing our affairs properly and diligently within the law and with full disclosure to all relevant tax authorities.
'Vodafone is a long-standing and significant contributor to the UK as a whole, not least in our role as the biggest dividend payer in the UK. We returned £6.7bn in cash to our shareholders this year, who include virtually every major investment fund relied upon by millions of UK pensioners and savers.'
Editor: Graeme Neill