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Google's Paris headquarters raided by police in tax evasion probe

By midian182
May 25, 2016
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  1. US tech companies have been experiencing a pretty difficult time in Europe lately, especially in France. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are being sued by French anti-racist groups; anti-Uber protests are commonplace, turning violent last year; and now Google, which has been under scrutiny by European tax officials for some time, has just had its Paris HQ raided.

    France’s financial prosecutor’s office has confirmed that the raid, which involved dozens of French police officers, 25 IT specialists, and a number of tax officials, is part of an investigation into tax evasion and money laundering.

    "The investigation aims to verify whether Google Ireland Ltd has a permanent base in France and if, by not declaring parts of its activities carried out in France, it failed its fiscal obligations, including on corporate tax and value added tax," the prosecutor's office said in statement.

    Earlier this year, it was reported that Italian police suspect Google had managed to evade 227 million euros ($247.5 million) in taxes between 2009 and 2013. A month later, French authorities demanded that the tech giant pay 1.6 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in back taxes it allegedly avoided by using complex financial arrangements.

    After a six-year investigation, Google came to an agreement with the UK government in January to pay back 3 percent tax, or $181 million, to cover money owed since 2005. Many called the amount “disproportionately small,” especially for the company’s second-largest market, but Google did say it “will now pay tax based on revenue from UK-based advertisers, which reflects the size and scope of our UK business.”

    Like a lot of organizations, Google placed its European headquarters in Ireland to take advantages of the country’s 12.5 percent corporation tax – the lowest in the EU.

    It’s not just Europe that’s unhappy with these tech companies' actions. As noted by Associated Press, 90 percent of the cash held by Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Oracle Corp sits in overseas accounts, totaling hundreds of billions of dollars. Some US officials want the money brought back into the country so it can be taxed and help reduce the nation’s deficit.

    Regarding the incident, Google said: “We comply with the tax law in France, as in every other country in which we operate. We are cooperating fully with the authorities in Paris to answer their questions, as always.”

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  2. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 930   +354

    I'm all for this, but seriously, until governments simplify tax law, reduce the bureaucracy, companies and individuals will always 'push the edge' of legality to reduce their taxes.
     
  3. OortCloud

    OortCloud TS Booster Posts: 119   +31

    Not all. Google always bangs on about "don't be evil", but tax evasion is about as evil as it gets given that it funds a country's welfare state services. In the UK Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Ebay have allegedly evaded over a billion pounds of tax last year alone - that would fund a lot of nurses and teachers...
     
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,707   +1,887

    Perhaps true. But, Ireland needn't worry about another "potato famine" ever, with all the huge corporations headquartered there. (y)*nerd*
     
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,560   +2,901

    I'm wondering how many nurses and teachers could be funded with all the revenue being flushed down the toilet. But yet tax evasion is what has been classified as evil.
     
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,707   +1,887

    But some damned old common birth control would abate the need. Those in most need of social entitlements always seem to breed the fastest, and then bellyache about a lousy school system. Property taxes fund the school system, so those who own homes, pay to send those kids to school, whether or not the parents ever pay a cent of real estate taxes in their lives. In some places in this country, welfare still funds public housing. In some cases, that allows the impoverished the opportunity for a government sponsored breeding program.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2016

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