Google pays €17m in corporation tax here as revenue hits €15.5bn
Google Ireland paid €17m in corporation tax here last year – twice as much as it did in 2011, according to accounts just filed by the internet giant.
But the tax paid – on a pre-tax profit of €137m generated from €15.5bn in revenue – is unlikely to allay concerns about how multinationals use Ireland to lower their group tax liabilities.
Google – which employed 2,200 people in Ireland at the end of 2012 – said that revenue at the Irish arm jumped 24pc to €15.5bn last year, driven by what it said was an increase in advertising generated by Google websites and Google network members' websites.
The cost of sales at the Irish division – which is the headquarters for Google's EMEA business – rose 32.3pc in 2012 to €4.5bn.
Its after-tax profit soared to €120.2m from just €2.2m the previous year.
John Herlihy, the head of Google Ireland, said 2012 was a period of "sustained growth" in the EMEA operation.
"Our growth reflects the strength of the European digital economy which the EU Commission estimates is growing seven times faster than the traditional economy," he added.
"Increasing amounts of business [are] being transacted online and our success in delivering relevant, cost-effective online advertising for our customers is reflected in the increase in revenue and turnover achieved in 2012."
Google –which just celebrated its 15th birthday – has had a presence in Ireland for the last 10 years. It recently announced a €5.5m investment in 'The Foundry' – its new digital innovation centre in Dublin which will attract visitors from all over Europe.
Google has also been at the eye of a storm over how multinationals use Ireland to lower their tax burden.
The European Union has launched a probe into multinational operations in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg to ascertain if the countries provided any 'sweetheart' deals to international corporations. The investigation came on the heels of allegations that Apple had a special tax arrangement in Ireland.
Google chairman Eric Schmidt defended Ireland's 12.5pc corporate tax rate this summer.
The European Commission's competition authorities have asked Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to explain how various tax rulings work.