Wednesday, 25 May 2016 08:19

Google's Paris offices raided over unpaid tax Featured

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Google's Paris offices have been raided by authorities who are pursuing the company for a reported €1.6 billion in unpaid back taxes.

Media reports said the raids, launched early on Tuesday, involved at least 100 personnel.

Many countries, including Australia, have expressed concern over the tax arrangements made by huge American multinational technology companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft, in order to avoid paying the correct amount of tax for their earnings in countries outside the US.

In the UK, for example, Google was until recently paying tax in Ireland for sales made in the UK. A deal that allowed Google to pay an extra £130 million in tax to make up unpaid tax since 2005 was described by the UK Public Accounts Committee as "disproportionately small".

Last year the heads of Google, Microsoft and Apple appeared before a Senate committee which was inquiring into their tax structures and seeking to understand why they steadfastly refused to pay what they had to under the law.

Google is facing issues on more than one front at the moment. The Paris raids come amid reports that the EU will hit the search giant with a massive €3 billion fine for using unfair tactics to dominate the search engine market.

And in California, Google is battling database giant Oracle in a trial to avoid paying damages for using more than 11,000 lines of code from Java in its Android mobile operating system.

The Paris raid follows the EU's announcement of plans to force firms to reveal details of their tax affairs. These new rules will make it compulsory for firms doing business in any EU jurisdiction to specify the amount of tax paid in each EU nation. They will also be required to come clean about activities carried out in tax havens.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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