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back to article Google slips $3.1bn through 'Double Irish' tax loophole

Google has saved $3.1bn in taxes since 2007 by shuttling its foreign profits through Ireland and the Netherlands, then on to a haven in Bermuda, according to the company's regulatory filings. As reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, Google uses techniques known as "Double Irish" and "Dutch Sandwich" to lower its foreign tax rate …

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Anonymous Coward

and SAP makes up the six AMIGOS ;)

has to be a token representative of the Euro zone

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Goodbye Google

Hello Bing........Goodbye Google. Yes, msft knows how to use the tax code, but they paid more taxes and Gates donates billions to charity.

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Anonymous Coward

the five AMIGOs

the software "Big Five": Apple, MSFT, IBM, Google, Oracle :) all tax cowboys south of the border.

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Hypocrisy.

The difference between illegal and legal, and of course how you view it. The "big" five criers when it comes to being slapped on the wrists.

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Invade

So if somebody were to invade Bermuda or Sark (say looking for weapons of mass destruction) they could gain control of all the worlds largest companies ?

Sounds like a good ROI for a defence ministry looking to make up for some cuts.

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Stop

But whoever invaded, they would also find

their own dirty linen among the now-public wash.

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I guess it's legal...

When you pay off legislators across the world to come up with the laws to make it so. If you're a regular Joe, and pay your taxes while the rich elites pay almost nothing, what does that make you?

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Pirate

"What does that make you?"

Skint?

GJC

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Unhappy

A Mug!

...As we're the ones funding the excessive spending of Government!

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Troll

FYI

Any Irish people reading, this is why you're bankrupt...

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FYI

@streaky » The Irish are bankrupt because they didn't regulate their banks and then poured their life savings into the gutter. The Irish department of finance showed the financial acumen of a 4-year-old in a sweetshop.

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Anonymous Coward

Common practice

The small NASDAQ-listed minnow I once worked for also did the Ireland-Bermuda trick. The Emerald Isle profited by three job reqs and the US lost millions in tax revenue.

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Grenade

re: streaky

Right, google came to Ireland, built offices, gave people work and paid 2.5% of 12 billion to Irish government. And that bankrupt them, the irish people reading.

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FAIL

The Irish gov

And meanwhile the Irish gov is garnishing 6% on top of tax from every working taxpayer in Ireland. Oh, and increasing tax to 42% next year. Oh, and taking money from the allowances that we pay PRSI for. Oh, and..

The list goes on. It's funny, like watching a 2yr old trying to balance a checkbook for a multibillionaire. At least it would be funny if they weren't fecking our economy up.

Funny thought. Since they're garnishing an average €100 for the million or so working people in the country, several "corner shop" franchises have reported losing income. There's almost a direct correlation to the money they're stealing from the taxpayer to the amount of reported profit loss - and subsequent unemployment - which leads to higher taxes and more levies - which leads to more of these firms closing out - etc.

The dumbest bunch of politicians I think anyone's ever seen.

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Anonymous Coward

Its begs the question - who in their right mind would stay in Ireland?

Assuming they had the means of emigrating.

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A bit of both, probably.

Morality aside.....

Tax EVASION is illegal. Tax AVOIDANCE is not.

Most big corporates walk a very fine line between the two.

Someone once dubbed this AVOISION.

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Coat

Best summed up

What's the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance ?

About five years in jail.

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Avoision

> Someone once dubbed this AVOISION

Kent Brockman?

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Rob
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Completely agree...

... in short this is legal money laundering to a certain extent.

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Re: Avoision

George W Bush?

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Joke

"Someone once dubbed this AVOISION."

But they were drunk in a Dublin pub.

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Welcome

the irish black hole

for years ireland has sustained itself by offering tax cuts on foreign incomes

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Even so

You gotta admire the tax acountants who worked out how to do this. Those are some seriously devious people

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Headmaster

...Seriously Devious

I the long distant past as a biology student I learned that almost all the most complex life cycles are lived by parasites...

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Anonymous Coward

definitely

can't think of a more admirable quality than being 'seriously devious'

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Megaphone

how about...

...seriously deviant?

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FAIL

And probably very rich too

Those who can help save millions, even billions, through 'legalised scams', no doubt get their slice from the pie and have very comfortable lives.

As always, the rich get richer, the poor stay poor. While it partly is jealousy, there is real resentment that while we have to pay full rates of tax and duties, may go to prison if we don't, corporates will sneak far more than we could ever cheat on through the system and get applauded and patted on the back for having done so.

While the issue is between legal and illegal, the real moral question is how can we allow it to be legal? It makes a mockery of the argument that taxes due must be paid and then let things like this go on.

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Anonymous Coward

"...Those are some seriously devious people"

Last time I checked, Google wasn't known for employing thick people (apart from the politicians, that is).

Far from it.

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They wouldn't be there without the tax breaks

If it wasn't for the tax breaks they wouldn't operate in RoI like that, they are not reducing the amount of tax they pay in RoI but in their native countries.

As things stand they get a satelite office from these companies so do get some local gains and some tax income so the country is better off by doing this.

I don't know the figures but say they get 0.1% of £1B that is much much more than 25% of nothing,

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As citizens of other countries...

... we thank you for gifting Google the ability to not pay lots of tax from our countries so you can have a little of it.

When you think about tax evasion/avoidance, think of the following maxim. There are only two people in the world: you and everyone else. When everyone else doesn't pay their fair share you have to pay more. People who use legal loopholes to make you and me pay more tax should not be applauded, but castigated.

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Irish corporate tax rate 28%?

I thought it was 12.5%. Is the 28% some aggregate of all taxes, or just wrong?

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Joke

no

its just a number pulled out of thin air. Thats how journalism works, pick a number. Although it rarely has "7's" in it. People get scared of numbers with 7's in it.

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scandalous

Seriously.. this is obscene.

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Megaphone

Makes you feel better about downloading

Well if they steal from my economy they I am going to do the same to you.

Now if we could find a similar setup with the Movie/Music/IP producers (It has to be there) then that would re-open the whole debate about who is actually stealing from who...

We want to know...

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Tax Avoidance

"Google has its faults, but making use of a legal tax loophole isn't one of them. ®"

Actually it is evil.

Tax avoidance is just tax evasion that hasn't been found out yet.

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Not so

"Tax avoidance is just tax evasion that hasn't been found out yet."

Tax avoidance is using legal loopholes to pay less tax. Most of these loopholes are known by the govt. Therefore they have already been found out, but what they are doing is perfectly legal.

Tax evasion is, basically, just not paying the taxes you owe. This is NOT legal.

I am not saying it is right, moral or just. I am saying there is a distinct difference. If the govt wants to, they can introduce legislation to close the loophole. They (effectively) endorse tax avoidance (glad I proof read this, I initially wrote 'evasion' here) by not closing the loopholes.

Many people avoid tax by legal means, for example setting up a limited company, taking minimum wage for them and their spouse, and then taking the rest in dividends avoiding national insurance and higher rate income tax. If you found a way to pay less tax on your wage, would you not do so?

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Unhappy

This is a tricky line to draw though

As a company, isn't it behoven to shareholders to maximise profits? So wouldn't NOT using advantageous tax regimes go against this obligation?

Likewise countries are free to set their own taxation rate and laws. It's a fine balance between getting fair revenues from individuals and companies, and also not being too strict so as to drive the larger ones elsewhere. As someone earlier posted, better a smaller slice of a bigger pie...

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Linux

a tit is required

Dear Google, please Pay your taxes, tax avoidance is 'evil'

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Stop

Governments are going to have to ...

just start charging companies for the taxes that they are generated in that country, irregardless of how the money is routed afterward. The way the economy is going my taxes are going up and my pay will, if I'm lucky, stay the same. Any corporation that can boast huge profits had better start paying the appropriate taxes to the appropriate government or they'll find they are on many peoples will not use/buy list. We really need to get after our elected representatives about tax loopholes like these.

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re Governments are going to have to ... @ 09:44

But the UK are taxing people on income earned abroad following big outcries that some people also have businesses in different countries and so were not paying UK tax on international money.

Double tax, yay!!

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WTF?

"irregardless"...

... Come again?

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Come on, hands up ...

Who wouldn't be on the wind up to save themselves money if they knew how to?

I don't like paying taxes and if I knew a legal way to channel my funds around so that I paid next to no tax you can damn well bet I would!

It's not Google's fault for getting through the legal minefield unscathed, it's the lawmaker's fault for leaving the path open.

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Pirate

Phase one is complete....

In phase two Bermuda raises their tax on foreign deposits to 500%...

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

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@Dax Farrer

Tax avoidance is doing it legally. Tax evasion is doing it illegally. If governments make daft laws that explicitly allow for loopholes in where the taxation goes, they can expect to get reamed for it.

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Unhappy

as usual

Rich get richer, poor get poorer.

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Grenade

Do No Evil

Yeah, right.

Face facts, Google, you are just as "evil" as every other big corporation out there, and your tax avoidance schemes are just yet another piece of your corporate evil.

It's time google admitted they are evil, and it's time all the fawning drooling Google-fans finally realised that the object of their worship isn't a kindly benevolent lone crusader in a sea of evil, but just another "evil" greedy corporation; a corporation which is getting away with it through those supporters' own gullability.

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What's it called

So it's a sort of reverse dutch steamboat for taxes ?

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Coat

Full Throttle quote...

I just remembered this priceless gem of this vintage game. LucasArts knew gaming back then.

"- But Malcolm, isn't that illegal?

-Not back then, no it wasn´t. "...

google for it. Oh the irony.

http://lparchive.org/LetsPlay/FullThrottle/Update%201/index.html

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Unhappy

No corporation tax in the UK

Being an "Irish" company, Google pays no taxes on revenues generated from the sale of advertising by UK companies, to UK consumers on searches performed within the UK. The UK represents 12% of all of Google's revenues according to the last earnings release. This is perfectly legal.

The Americans have particular reason to be upset at this arrangement as Brin & Page's research which gave rise to the technology behind Google was funded by the US taxpayer bankrolled National Science Foundation.

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Coat

Anyone else ...

Fancy a Double Irish Dutch sandwich ?

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