Pre-tax profits at the social media giant that operates Facebook last year increased by 33% to €1.184bn on the back of record revenues.

New accounts show that Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd - formerly Facebook Ireland Ltd - enjoyed the surge in profits as revenues increased by 29% or €11.7bn from €40.6bn in 2020 to €52.3bn last year - more than average of €1bn per week in revenues.

However, the firm's post tax profits of €484.83m were 22% down on 2020 after the company was hit with a corporation tax bill of €699.3m

A large proportion of the corporation tax bill arose from Facebook this year paying €212.3m to settle tax matters.

"Subsequent to the reporting period, the company agreed to the resolution of certain tax matters with tax authorities relating to prior tax years," a note says.

"As a result a tax liability and corresponding income tax expense of €212.3m has been recognised in respect of these years and other prior tax years."

"In the current financial year, a related interest liability and expense of €60.0 million was also recognised relating to these tax matters."

The firm paid out €34.5m under a similar heading last year.

The €212.3m paid out to settle tax matters this year is in addition to the €485.89m corporation tax bill on ordinary activities for 2021.

The accounts also disclose that the company made provision for an additional €1.96bn last year to cover regulatory compliance matters which brings to a total of €3bn under the heading of 'regulatory compliance provisions’.

A note attached says that the provisions "relate to amounts identified for administrative fines arising from various ongoing regulatory compliance investigations or decisions by relevant data protection supervisory authorities".

The note also states that "the amount of any final fines is uncertain and could differ from the amount provided as a number of uncertainties exist. Where a regulatory decision has been made, the final fine may be impacted by any potential appeal".

The accounts also state that the provisions recorded "represent the best estimate of the expenditure required to discharge these obligations and are within a range of reasonably possible outcomes that exist".

The note points out that the best estimate "is based on the advice from outside legal counsel, regulatory correspondence received to date, relevant mitigating factors, comparison with similar matters and other factors".

Subsequent to the end of last December, the accounts also reveal the firm declared and paid dividends of $3.4bn to its parent company, Facebook International Operations Limited.

On the surge in revenues, the directors state that the increase was attributable to growth in advertising revenue from third-party customers.

The accounts were signed off before Meta announced global job losses with the firm telling Government here earlier this month of roughly 350 jobs to be lost at its Irish operation.

The directors say that the company continued to grow in 2021 with average headcount increased by 9% or 193 from 2,247 to 2,440 in 2021.

The company's staff costs last year increased by 12.5% from €377.79m to €425m. The staff costs included salary costs of €276.45m and shared based payments of €80m.

Directors shared emoluments of €1.8m and an additional €3.6m in long term incentive scheme payments.

The profit last year takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €66.2m and research and development costs of €131.74m.

At the end of last year, the firm had shareholder funds of €3.46bn that included accumulated profits of €2.09bn. The firm’s cash funds increased from €3.4bn to €6bn.

- reporting by Gordon Deegan