Google warns ‘costs and challenges’ of Brexit could take a toll on future UK revenues

  • Google’s UK office has warned of the unforeseen ‘costs and challenges’ of Brexit.
  • The firm warned rules against data transfers between the UK and EU could have ‘adverse effects’. 
  • Officials have settled on a temporary data-sharing solution – which is up for review in four years.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Google has warned the “costs and challenges” of Brexit could undermine its UK earnings in the future.

The tech giant, whose primary European operations are run out of Dublin, recorded revenues of £1.8 billion ($2.5 billion) in the 12 months to the end of June on the UK, a 13% increase. Google said the “evolving laws and legal systems” around Brexit could end up affecting the company’s revenues.

UK officials are still hashing out the finer points of Britain’s future relationship with the EU following its formal departure from the bloc in January

The British government effectively copied and pasted European data protection regulations into its own regime following the split, but culture secretary Oliver Dowden has suggested there could be some divergence.

Any split will likely cause major logistical headaches for UK-based companies dealing with customers in the EU, since it would impact how they process personal information such as customers’ names and addresses.

While EU officials have agreed a temporary free flow of data between the UK and the continent, that deal remains subject to review by both parties every four years. 

Google warned any future change to the current regime could have “adverse effects” on the company. 

“Evolving laws and legal systems, including the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU), may adversely affect the company’s revenues and could subject the company to new regulatory costs and challenges,” Google said in accounts that were filed Tuesday.

“Including the transfer of personal data between the EU and the United Kingdom … in addition to other adverse effects that the company are unable to effectively anticipate.” 

Data-sharing between different jurisdictions has caused Big Tech companies and legislators a number of headaches in recent years, with accusations that past regimes have left European citizens subject to US surveillance

Google UK’s latest filings showed pre-tax profits had risen by around 22%, from £225 million to £276 million. At the same time, the firm paid just £50 million in income tax for the year, a 13% increase on its previous annual tax bill of just over £44 million.

Insider approached Google for comment. 

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