People can deride One Direction all they want for creating devastating teen pop that’s so sugary you need to scrub your ears. But while the band looks and sounds like it was created in a lab, the band members are in fact very good about paying their fair share of taxes. They collectively paid around $16 million in British taxes in 2014—which is $15.9 million more than Facebook paid.
Facebook gets flak in the U.S. for dodging huge amounts of tax dollars by paying employees heavily in stock options over cash—which allows the company to pay out small amounts and write off a much larger amount later after it grows. (While the employee still pays income tax on the larger amount, the company doesn’t.) But the situation is much worse in the U.K. Despite maintaining a large enough presence to pay its 362 British workers share bonuses of $53.8 million, Facebook paid just $6,643 in corporate taxes last year. This also means that Facebook employees in the U.K. paid far more taxes than the corporation itself.
One Direction’s music might feel like it gives your brain cavities (or you may love it, good for you!), but it stands out against the British musical tradition of dodging taxes. Compared to bands like the Rolling Stones, who have been accused of paying just 1.6% on $368 million—the Exile on Main Street refers to their tax exile—One Direction is doing more than its share of paying for the British roads and schools. It’s worth noting that taxpayers fund the National Health Service, which cured Rolling Stones’ drummer’s Charlie Watts’ cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital.