Wednesday 16 August 2017

France says 'non' to back tax deal with Google following British settlement

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin. AP Photo
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin. AP Photo
Ailish O'Hora

Ailish O'Hora

France has ruled out a tax deal with Google over back taxes just days after the British government made a settlement with the search giant.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said: "French tax authorities do not negotiate the amount of taxes owed, there is a discussion underway about which rules apply, that's perfectly legitimate."

He told delegates at a conference that the sums at stake were "far greater" than those in Britain's case where Google reached a £130m (€171m)settlement for the period since 2005.

Google denied it reached a "sweetheart deal" with British tax authorities as a dispute continued over the settlement, which was called a victory by the UK Treasury and dismissed as "derisory" by opposition politicians.

Google legally routes most of its European revenue through its Dublin HQ which minimises its tax bill. Google parent Alphabet agreed to pay tax going back 2005 after talks with UK tax authorities, while across Europe the company was criticised for using innovative tools to keep its tax rates low. HMRC has been faulted for not securing more money after reports that France and Italy are demanding higher settlements from the Mountain View, California-based company. The UK deal was announced last week.

(Additional reporting Bloomberg)

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