back to article IRS audits Google for funneling profits to Ireland

The US Internal Revenue Service is auditing strategies that Google uses to cut its tax bill by about $1 billion a year by funneling profit into subsidiaries located in territories with low or non-existent rates, according to a published report citing unnamed officials. The agency is “bringing more than typical scrutiny” to …

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Flame

Bring profits home

If the US would change their tax policies that money could have been brought home to help the economy. But, no, instead they will see if they can find a way to bring charges against Google.

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How

US has one of the lowest Corp tax rate in the world.

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"US has one of the lowest Corp tax rate in the world."

Then why, in 2010, were seven of the eight most expensive places to do business in the world in US cities?

Part of that is local and state taxes (which have really shot up in the last decade+), but still.

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"Then why, in 2010, were seven of the eight most expensive places to do business in the world in US cities?"

8 cities out how many in the US ? And how does that negate what I said ? Look at Nevada . It has no corp tax, no personal income tax.

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FAIL

US has one of the highest Corp tax rates in the world

President Obama in his State of the Union speech this very year says the US has one of the *highest* corporate tax rates in the world, and politifact did a verification check and validated that the US does have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Would you care to bring some facts to the table?

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/jan/25/barack-obama/barack-obama-state-union-says-us-corporate-tax-rat/

"Over the years," he said, "a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change."

We found that for 2010, the U.S ranked second to Japan by a fraction of a percentage point -- 39.54 percent for Japan to 39.21 percent for the U.S. But that figure is already outdated: Japan has moved to cut its rate for 2011 by 5 percentage points, leaving the U.S. with the highest corporate tax rate among OECD nations.

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Anonymous Coward

American Gvmt at work

As stupid as this sounds the US wouldnt have the issues it has with money if they would actually, oh I dont know, STOP letting this stuff happen.

We over here bitch and bitch about the companies not having to pay what it seems they should in taxes but we fail to understand the whole complicated (Read as fucked up) tax laws. Its the government that allows this to happen. Pork barrel and all that BS aside it would be nice to have tax laws that didnt take a bloody doctorate to understand. And even then I doubt the laws are understood.

What needs to happen is a complete rewrite of the laws but that wont happen. Oh well looks like we get to keep on moaning about how unfair the taxes are and the fact that the federal government is losing money hand over fist.

*No im not one of those "Occupy" idiots but I do believe that we need to not elect politici....pathological LIARS like we do.

On a side note posting anon even though big brother is reading this due to having thoughts pretty much all the time this subject comes up from one of Tom Clancys books where a crazy Japanese guy drives a 747 into the capitol building and what happened next.

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Anonymous Coward

<snip>

"*No im not one of those "Occupy" idiots..."

</snip>

I'm not an occupier either, in fact the very Wall St they are protesting make up part of my customer base and large part of my company's income... However, many average non-protestor types over here in the US support what they are doing. Coupled with that is the question:

If someone doesn't protest, how is change going to be effected?

You think a million people sitting in their bedrooms and home offices tapping away on a keyboard with righteous indignation is going to make governments and corporations break a sweat? No, that's what they want you to do because they can simply ignore the angry commentards. I doubt many politicians have even heard of El Reg, let alone peruse its forums.

Physical non-violent protest, effective or not, is the only means of actually showing politicians that people are angry and they want change - it's not impossible for a politician to ignore à la Tony Blair and New Labour, but it's much harder.

Not going to downvote you as on the whole I agree, just not with your characterisation of the Occupy Wall St protesters.

Anonymous because... well... obvious reasons.

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Thumb Down

Less is more

Why are governments so dumb? If a global corp can pay 19% by shuffling money instead of 39% then they will do it, who wouldn't?

Drop the tax to 18% back home and cream all the tax instead of letting it leak away abroad. Even Deborah Meaden would invest in that idea.

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Silver badge

So... drop the tax rate below what they're currently collecting?

And how is that supposed to help anyone?

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Devil

Your math is b0rken

Irish tax rate if memory serves me right is 15 (with most big players having long term breaks negotiated to reduce this further), Bermuda tax rate is inexistent.

Google pays 19 because it still has to pay for stuff it cannot avoid in the USA (32), UK (40), etc.

Dunno, there is no obvious way to deal with this. It will take fixing not just the US (or EU) tax code to fix this one.

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Holmes

simple

Because if you simplify the tax laws and make the rate lower than can be obtained through complex tax practices then more will be paid.

18% of 100 billion is more than 39% of 10 billion.

I believe the concept is also called "stack 'em high and sell 'em cheap".

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Yag
Facepalm

If the USA reduce their tax rate to 18%, the most likely will be a net result of 18% of 10 billions.

18% is still greater than the 15% of ireland or even the 0% of bermuda, so there's no real incentive to stop the good ol' tax avoiding stuff

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"Because if you simplify the tax laws and make the rate lower than can be obtained through complex tax practices then more will be paid.

18% of 100 billion is more than 39% of 10 billion.

I believe the concept is also called "stack 'em high and sell 'em cheap"."

Not so simple. Where did the other 90 billion come from, hmm? I didn't know we had a load of raging Tories/Republicans on here. If you want to stop this sort of wide-spread tax avoidance/borderline evasion, it's simple: Bermuda has no taxes at all, so it acts like a fence, aiding and abetting companies to steal from countries and governments. Start treating them as such.

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JC_
FAIL

@simple

I believe it's called "race to the bottom".

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Anonymous Coward

40% corp tax in the UK? Not according to HMRC: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/corp.htm

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"Why are governments so dumb? "

Because voters are dumber; they don't have to be intelligent.

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Flame

Not that difficult to fix

-take the whole 10 million pages of tax code, shred and burn

-tax all income (salary, private, corporate, capital gains etc ) at the same (lower) rate of around 15-20%, with anything under a just-livable wage ($12000??) being exempt

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oh, and one last point.... set a minimum tax threshold, say 12 or 15%, and consider any country with a tax rate less than that to be a pirate tax haven that is profiting solely from leeching off of really successful countries who actually produce something. Put such countries on no-trade lists, same as Iran or Venezuela, and then leave the choice to them whether they want to be part of a responsible global community or not

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FAIL

Follow the money

Because 39% of a small sum paid to the USA with the rest of the tax being paid to Ireland is much less than 18% of everything going into the coffers of the USA. That's how it helps.

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Alert

Other companies

I hope the timing of this invertigation is a coincidence, but they also should take a deep look at other companies, eg. Apple. From what I heard Apple uses offshore companies in tax-exempt countries to buy the hardware for 10-20% and sell it to Apple-US for 90% of final retail-price. So all profit stays in the offshore companies, onwed by Apple of course.

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Anonymous Coward

I wish I were a corporation.

The real issue here is that governments in the US , here in the UK and elsewhere have tax codes that are so complex and full of loopholes that corporations can play pass the parcel with their profits. And with lots of money spent on lobbyists you aren't going to see any change any time soon.

Whilst legally ok, it doesn't bode well for the future. In the past large companies had large workforces who paid taxes. We are now in the situation where companies are outsourcing much of the work overseas and those staff left are experiencing the biggest pay freeze in decades. The cost of running our countries hasn't changed much. The NHS and social security (the biggest items in the budget) aren't shrinking. This means that the tax burden on us Jo Schmoes is just going to get worse, and unless something radical happens , it is going to be a long time before you get growth in the economy. Keep it up all you tax "planners", but you are storing up trouble.

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Silver badge

Well, laws have consequences.

Probably a lesson that our (I live in the USA) legislators don't really understand. We here have 50 wonderful states, and since the federal government is the only one who can tax things that move across state borders, people buy things mail order from out of state. That way us scofflaws in a high (sales) tax state (like California) can use Amazon (while it lasts) to get things on the cheap!

Unfortunately California wants to go after Amazon for this wonderful practice. It will probably raise a dollar or two. A small dent in our states budget that appears to know no bounds.

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JDX
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35%?

Blimey, no wonder they put the effort in to avoid it.

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yes...

As our government recognise, tax is an incentive.

If "green" tax is a incentive not to drive to work then income tax is an incentive not to work and corporation tax is an incentive to not profit.

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Mushroom

Its a POV issue.

The laws are designed to have loopholes, as those that make them don't want to pay tax.

Your government is for them, not you.

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No, the government is for the government. As H.L. Mencken said, if there were a sizable number of cannibals in a voting district, their politicians would be promising free missionaries fattened at taxpayer expense.

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Joke

"Double Irish" and "Dutch Sandwich"

I'm sure I saw definitions of those in the Viz Profanisaurus app that I downloaded yesterday ...

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What's the problem?

Why do we assume this is something that needs to be "fixed" -- it's the way business works, it's what keeps lots of wage slaves off the dole queue. The government is still getting as much as it has the brains & abilities to take.

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