France Shouldn’t Let Google Get Off Tax-Free

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After Google settled for just 130 million pounds ($168 million) in back taxes with the U.K. last year, the French government swore it would get more money out of the search giant — based, as then-Finance Minister Michel Sapin said, not on negotiation but on application of the law. On Wednesday, that approach failed spectacularly.

A Paris court rejected the government’s demand that Google pay 1.115 billion euros ($1.28 billion) in taxes for 2005 through 2010. The failure shows that countries and blocs like the European Union need urgently to change their tax rules as they are too easily flouted by multinationals. In the meantime, old debts will have to be negotiated or forgotten.

In the U.K., then-Chancellor George Osborne touted the 2016 settlement as a “major success” but its opponents claimed Google got off too lightly. Osborne had a point, though. Google could have refused to pay anything at all, and it didn’t change its tax structure for the U.K. All Google agreed to do under the settlement was pay more to its U.K. operating company for services rendered, which resulted in more taxes…

Read more : Bloomberg, 13.07.2017