Google to pay $1 billion in France to settle fiscal fraud probe

13 Septembre, 2019, 06:59 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • A Google logo is displayed at the Google offices in Berlin Germany 24 June 2019

Google agreed to pay close to 1 billion euros ($1.10 billion) to French authorities to settle a fiscal fraud probe that began four years ago in a deal that may create a legal precedent for other large tech companies present in the country.

"We have put an end to the tax and related disputes we had had in France for many years", Google said in a written statement.

Visitors pass by the logo of Google at the high profile startups and high tech leaders gathering, Viva Tech, in Paris, France May 16, 2019.

Belloubet added that the settlement showed French authorities have the tools to ensure an equitable tax system. "It is a historic settlement both for our public finances and because it marks the end of an era", said Darmanin.

Google, part of Alphabet Inc, pays little tax in most European countries because it reports nearly all sales in Ireland.

European countries have struggled to tax the profits of multinational tech companies derived in their jurisdictions.

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The French government has eventually imposed its own unilateral tax, prompting U.S. President Donald Trump to brandish the menace of a retaliatory tax on French wine.

The British government is now planning a similar move, at a time when it also hopes to build on its relationship with Washington as it exits the European Union.

Macron has said it will scrap its digital tax once a new global levy being discussed among the 134 OECD countries is in place, which Paris hopes will happen next year.

Pascal Saint-Amans, who is leading the negotiations as head of tax policy at the OECD, said after the G7 that progress is being made but several key issues still need to be hammered out.

The settlement includes a €500m ($NZ862.8m) fine and additional taxes of €465m ($802.4m), but it is less than the tax bill authorities had accused Google of evading.

The combined tax payment is less than the 1.6 billion euros the finance ministry had been seeking from Google after the company's Paris offices were raided in 2016.

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