They may be the biggest boy band on the planet, but even One Direction have to answer when the taxman comes knocking. The former X Factor stars paid over 1,900 times more UK corporate tax than social networking giant Facebook in 2014, after blockbuster sales of merchandise, albums and gig tickets saw their pre-tax profit of soar to £45.4m ($69.22m).
Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik – who left the band in March of this year – all became directors of their own UK business in 2010, 1D Media. The accounts are audited by Grant Thornton and signed off by Liam Payne on behalf of his bandmates.
According to the firm's filings, £8.24m of that figure was paid in UK corporation tax. After also paying off duties overseas, the Drag Me Down hit maker's tax bill was £10.5m, leaving the quartet to share a take-home profit of £34.9m.
News of their earnings comes weeks after Facebook's British arm came under fire for paying just £4,327 in UK corporation tax in 2014. Its most recent Companies House filing revealed that Mark Zuckerberg's company made a pre-tax loss of £28.5m last year, but managed to slash its tax bill by handing its 362 UK staff a total of £35.4m in share bonuses. The share bonuses amount to £96,000 on average per UK Facebook employee.
The tax paid was less than the average British worker on £26,500 a year, who would be liable for £3,180 in income tax and £2,213 in national insurance contributions – a total of £5,393.
Meanwhile, the chart battle between One Direction and Justin Bieber has officially kicked off after both pop acts released their respective albums, Made In The AM and Purpose. The project will be group's last release for a while as they take a hiatus to pursue solo projects.