Uber is facing yet more scrutiny from politicians this week after an MP questioned whether the company was paying enough tax.
Labour politician Iain Wright tabled a written question in parliament on Friday, asking chancellor Philip Hammond whether he had calculated the potential VAT owed by Uber.
“To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the potential VAT owed to his Department in respect of supply of passenger transportation services arising as a result of the employment tribunal ruling of 28 October 2016; and if he will make a statement.”
The chancellor has yet to respond.
Wright’s question came after Jolyon Maugham, a respected UK barrister, announced he was suing Uber over allegedly failing to pay millions in VAT.
Maugham has calculated that Uber owes at least £20 million in taxes, though it could avoid paying up if it changes its company structure. Uber, in response, has said its drivers are subject to the same VAT laws as other transportation services.
Maugham, who is suing Uber through his organisation the Good Law Project, said his case was strengthened by last year’s employment tribunal ruling that Uber drivers — currently classified by the company as self-employed — were actually employees.
Speaking to Business Insider, Maugham said he welcomed Iain Wright’s question.
He said: “There is genuine and proper public interest in the nature of the deals that HMRC is doing with big US multinationals. It is unfortunate that the government does not feel the need to recognise that public interest, and the purpose of this action is to bring a private conversation between Uber and the government into the public domain.”
Parliament’s ongoing work and pensions select committee is already examining whether newer companies like Uber, Deliveroo, Hermes, and Amazon are treating casual workers properly, and whether those workers should be considered full-time employees.