Monday 17 December 2018

Google Ireland pays €171m tax as sales hit record €32bn

Employment here reaches 8,000 as search giant corners ad market with Facebook and boosts Dublin staff by 8pc

Lights illuminate the floors at Google's European headquarters in Dublin
Lights illuminate the floors at Google's European headquarters in Dublin
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Google has announced record revenues of €32.2bn for 2017 in its Irish accounts, a rise of €5.9bn due to the scale at which it is cornering the advertising market.

However, it paid €171m in tax here based on its profit in Ireland which was €1.16bn out of the €32.2bn in sales.

Corporation tax is charged on profits, although there is a big push in Europe to levy an additional tax on the sales of big technology companies because the gap between sales and profits can be so big.

The slim profit is a result of Google ascribing €21.9bn to 'administrative expenses', including ordinary business costs and money paid to related companies offshore.

The figures show that Google and Facebook are now obliterating all other online rivals for advertising, including media companies.

Google says that it now "supports" 8,000 employees in Ireland, divided between permanent staff and contractors.

Country manager and vice president Fionnuala Meehan, said 2018 has been its most successful hiring year here.

"Last year we saw an 8pc increase in employment here in Dublin with over 258 new direct jobs created across all our operations including sales and marketing, engineering and administration," she said.

"The success of Google in Dublin has seen us grow, including the establishment of a new Google Cloud team; in 2017, we acquired the lease on the Velasco building on Dublin's Grand Canal which gave us an additional 51,000 sq ft of office space for this division."

Google's cost of sales increased to €9bn, an increase of €2.1bn on 2016. This was made up "primarily of traffic acquisition costs", said the company, "which consist of both the amounts paid to distribution partners who make Google search available as well as amounts based on revenue-share arrangements under which the company pays its Google Network Members and other partners a portion of the fees it receives from advertisers".

"Building on the foundations of our growth in 2017, we have continued our investment programme in 2018," said Ms Meehan. "As we celebrate 15 years in Ireland this year, we are continuing to invest in our operations and in our local community. We want our city to share in our success and we recently launched our biggest-ever initiative to support local communities throughout Dublin. The Google.org Dublin Impact Challenge is a new €1m fund to support non-profit innovators and social entrepreneurs whose innovative ideas for change are making an impact locally."

Google has faced increasing antitrust pressure in recent years, and was fined €4.3bn by the European Commission in July. It has a virtual monopoly on search within the EU.

Irish Independent

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