TAX-DODGING TECH GIANT Google will hand over close to €1bn (£900m) to French authorities in a bid to settle a long-running fraud inquiry.
As per Reuters, the settlement includes a €500m fine and back-taxes of €465m. But Google, which pays more in EU fines than it does in taxes, has got off lightly, as this figure is significantly less than the €1.6bn authorities had initially sought at the start of the investigation.
"We have now settled tax and related disputes in France that have persisted for many years," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "The settlements comprise a €500m payment that was ordered today by a French court, as well as €465m in additional taxes that we had agreed to pay, and that has been substantially reflected in our prior financial results.
"We continue to believe that the best way to provide a clear framework for companies that operate around the world is co-ordinated reform of the international tax system."
The investigation began in 2016 when French authorities conducted a raid on Google's Paris headquarters in an effort to secure evidence of the company's tax evasion practices.
Officials had been looking into whether Google, whose European HQ is based in Dublin, failed to pay sufficient tax to the state by not declaring parts of its business activities within the country due to the fact it reports almost all of its sales in Ireland. This is possible thanks to a loophole in international tax law but it relies on staff in Dublin concluding all sales contracts.
Google's settlement comes two months after the French government passed its own bill to tax global technology companies operating within the country.
Under the bill, digital companies with more than €750m in global revenue and €25m in French revenue will be required to pay a per cent tax on total annual revenue generated by providing services to French users. µ
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