Google hit with €1bn French tax bill

THE FRENCH tax authorities have embarked on a €1bn (£830m) tax claim against Google, following an investigation of the search engine’s offices in Paris.

It drove down its French liabilities by diverting revenue through a Dutch-registered intermediary and then a Bermuda-registered subsidiary, Google Ireland Limited, before reporting it in Ireland, the Daily Mail reports.

France, under its socialist government, is one of the highest-taxed nations on Earth, with the top rate of income tax currently standing at 75%.

The AFP news agency reports Google France generated €192.9m revenue in 2012, paying €6.5m on €8.3m profit.

Google has been in the firing line over its tax affairs in the UK, too, with Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge attacking the company for shifting its profits to its European headquarters in Dublin.

Since President Hollande (pictured) was elected in 2012, unemployment in France has hit 11%, while foreign investment in 2013 – his first full year in charge – declined 77%.

In light of those figures, France has embarked on a campaign to clamp down on multinational companies shifting profits out of the country to lower-tax jurisdictions.

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