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.
At HMRC, Dmitri Surendran was responsible for leading the London team of the offshore, corporate and wealthy unit of the fraud investigation service
Research also finds that 84% of businesses believe that the government has not provided enough information about digital tax plans
A total of £16bn was lost through tax fraud last year, according to estimates released by Pinsent Masons
Additional tax a result of compliance investigations by HMRC, but overall revenue falls