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back to article French gov 'plans to hand Google €1bn tax bill' - report

The French tax office will be handing Google a €1bn tax bill to make up for revenues from France routed through Google Ireland, claims French weekly Le Canard Enchaîné*. An inquiry into Google's Transfer Pricing - how profits and revenues are moved across borders by the corporation - has just finished and according to Le Canard …

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Re: Lead the way then...

Tax havens are a cancer around the globe. All governments have declared they do not like them, but in and behind governments are those who profit from them. Individual governments are simply to week (or too involved) to do anything about it, but talk. Thus we need "powers" like the EU (and the USA) to do it for them. It is high time.Sound companies will survive anyway and those who will not will not should go anyway.

There is nothing wrong it a company uses all "legal" means to add to the bottom line, the problem is just that there are too many just and just "legal" ways to do it.

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Vic
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Re: Lead the way then...

> I thought the point here is that their business practices are not exactly legal.

No. These practices *are* exactly legal.

They just shouldn't be, that's all.

Vic.

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Re: Lead the way then...

quote: "A question to all those harping on about how Google/Starbucks/FB/etc *should* pay more tax then they legally have too...

How about you lead the way and personally pay more tax then *you* legally have too?"

When my government tax me personally on profit, instead of turnover, I will be happy to oblige. I am however currently legally obliged to pay tax on turnover. At more than 20%.

So please, feel free to compare my tax situation with that of Google :)

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Mushroom

Re: Lead the way then...

"such as the old run your own company and pay yourself minimum wage scam"

That's not a scam, it's just the most meaningful way for certain self-employed people to pay taxes - why should I pay government for the privelege of employing myself? For such people income is largely uncertain, and PAYE doesn't accomodate week-week changes in circumstances. For those that do have that certainty, they usually fall under the watchful eye of IR35.

So don't drag freelancers and PSVs into this, it's a whole different thing - it's not like I've set up a company in The Caimans that owns the Trademark 'Shonko Kid' and they charge me millions per year in licensing. Though now I think of it...

For sure, I'm dead against obvious scams, such as the recent Jimmy Carr revelation, and the Starbuck's one was particularly inventive, but you have to remember one thing. For a publicly traded company, the first priority is maximising shareholder value. That's the Law. And that means employing armies of accounts to minimise tax bills. Which as an added bonus means those guys aren't roaming the streets!

And if you don't like your own tax arrangements, then you know what to do don't you.

I live in my society, and I fund it too. I even employ the services of a local accountants. Frankly I find the comparision between freelancers trying to eke out a living and the tax avoiding shenanigans of MegaCorp insulting. And you even hide behind the Fawkes mask.

I'm also suprised you've been upvoted so many times on this, Have all the IT contractors left the building?

Flame on.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lead the way then...

Ah, so it's YOUR morals that count, and only laws that favour YOU are "moral". Gutter politics.

You might not be quiet, but you're not making moral sense.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lead the way then...

Sure will, you receive probably(by the sound of your posts) a lot more from the government than you put in, no wonder you're keen on getting more taxes. And you receive a lot of services, health and welfare for a start, that Google itself as a "person" does not receive. So you get a lot of benefit from the tax, or so you think, Google, not so much...

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FAIL

Overregulated and south-european, moi?

Seriously, why would Google want to hand the french government anything? So they can blow it on make-work schemes? Sod that.

Really, french politicians are on an all-out trip to destroy that country. Regulatory uncertainty, powerful unions, the minister who promises to "take on" the rare successful investor and insults towards the management boards of the automotive industry. Additionally, promises to "collect" 30 billion in taxes (could be that money won't be, like, invested anywhere but misspent, maybe ... MAYBE?)

Do we have 3x10⁶ people unemployed? Yep, good job.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Overregulated and south-european, moi?

If Google didn't want to pay the French tax, they can easily do that by not doing business in France. But it appers that they want to do business in France, so should pay their tax there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Overregulated and south-european, moi?

I think the French have it more right than most countries. God forbid (I'm an atheist but do find this term useful) that us workin' folk should get ahead a little and enjoy our lives without having to worry about working 50 or 70 hours a week and then hope the boss won't think we're lazy when we ask for a week off. Strong unions have an important place in society to balance the power of the cheap, slave driver boss that still really exists in every country in the world.

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Anonymous Coward

The infinite circle

The government wants more money, so they up taxes, or create new ones

In doing so they create ways to avoid these taxes

Companies go "what? A 0.5% increase? That's an extra 10 million they want, bugger that" and pay to shuffle the accounts.

The government doesn't get the extra money they wanted, so they increase taxes

continue circle.

Overall the large companies and rich individuals can afford to pay tens of thousands to get an accountant to shuffle their funds and avoid 90% of the tax they SHOULD be paying. While the little guy (me and you) have to keep paying the ever increasing taxes because well... We can't afford no to (literally)

At the same time, the government can't drastically lower the tax rate to draw companies back to keeping their books accurate, because the public would have a hissy fit "Why cut their tax? They earn billions!" and there's no garuntee it'd make them keep more money here anyway.

At the same time, the tax laws are such a jumble it's become nigh on impossible to close up one loophole without either opening several others, or blocking off designed functionality which wasn't a loophole.

Really it's down to a case of, we have laws dating back to the 19th century, and although they started out simple they've been added to, edited, added to again, archived as a new document is penned to extend the original. What they need to do is stop amending the laws, and start re-writing them.

By and large, it would cost the government a fair sum to get all the lawyers etc around and to adjsut the system while the new laws (laws 2.0) are written up. But long term we'd probably be able to consolidate a few thousand different legal documents into a few hundered which go into further depth, apply to modern era problems rather than based on dated information and ideals. Furthermore because of the added simplicity to all these documents, they would (in theory) make it easier to enforce the law, monitor breakage of the law and just make things easier. Of course it'd probably take a decade or so of mess and faffing about to get these new laws in place, and then another decade or so for the country to adjust. But by the end of it all we'd probably be in a far far far better situation than we are in now.

But of course it'll never happen.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The infinite circle

Software example of what I'm getting at with the whole "rewrite the laws thing"

You have a piece of software you build for company X. Over the years company X adds new functionality, fixes defects, changes coding standards, direction of the software, maybe even primary programming language. So after a few years you have a piece of legacy software with layers and layer on top of it.

On the front it all works. But in the background to make it work there are twice as many resources being used to do so, and it takes many more times the effort to find and fix a problem without breaking it further.

So you rewrite the software. You take down all the functionality, refactor, adjust how different functions are split up perhaps follow a design pattern through the entire software, maybe use OO or MVC principles. It takes you a long time, but eventually you have a new piece of software coded from the ground up which is effectively a mirror of the original software. But looking through the code it's now far easier to understand. And the amount of resources used to keep the software running on a machine has dropped considerably.

Sure during the first few months of launch there might be teething problems. A few functions that weren't coded correctly perhaps. But thanks to how tidy the new code is, it's easy to find and fix.

You go from having spaghetti code with 500,000 lines which needs 1gb of memory and a quad core CPU to run. To having well written code with only 100,000 lines which needs 256mb of memory and a dual core CPU to run. And any errors in the process will be fixed far quicker than with the legacy setup.

That's basically the theory I was trying to apply to the legacy laws from 1900s etc.

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Pint

Beer tax

" large companies and rich individuals can afford to pay tens of thousands to get an accountant to shuffle their funds "

Then the answer is obvious - make accounting illegal!!

But seriously folks - the current complete mess that is the tax code in most countries comes straight out of the back-scratching, nodding and winking political game that has always been played between govt and corps. It is corrupt because it was designed to be corrupt and there is no political will to change that. certainly not from a couple of old etonians and their pet lackey in the UK and certainly not from a French "socialist" dilettante who thinks that increasing tax on beer is the way to squeeze the rich.

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Re: The infinite circle

Politicians need money to get elected, money buys advertising they need to lie their little heads off. Companies make significant donations to politicians. Completely coincidentally laws are passed \ ammended by these politicians in such a manner that allows companies to profit, be it via tax breaks \ loopholes etc. Of course knowing where the funding from your reelection campaign is coming from in no way influences the manner in which they discharge their duties.

Yes we would be unwise to tax companies based on their turnover although it does make some sense. Some businesses, especially those that resell others services, would take a big hit and the length of a supply chain would affect taxation heavily. Rather than each company paying tax based on its profit, they would all be paying on turnover which would increase the cost of the goods significantly unless the rate was very very low and even then it would penalise longer chains.

Rewriting the tax laws would be a very good start. Imprisoning accountants and lawyers wouldn't hurt either. What these companies are doing isn't illegal, it's just wrong. Do business here, pay tax here. As I find out about companies pulling this stunt I stop doing business with them.

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Mushroom

Fuck them all

Anyone can build a business that's only profitable when they pay less than a percent in tax, fuck, my family would be well set in a nice house if we didn't have to pay tax, but someone has to pay for the roads, police, fire service, hospitals, schools, sanitation, etc etc. It's fucked up that the biggest corporations in the world are passing on their share of the costs to the public.

First against the wall etc

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fuck them all

You seem to have made a mistake. You said "It's fucked up that the biggest corporations in the world are passing on their share of the costs to the public" but the services you mention are services for YOU not a business. The roads and sanitation make sense for the business but the rest is for you. So is it not fucked up that you want them to pay for your services because you wont pay for them, and I expect you to say you cant afford to. So you pass the expense of your 'necessities' to others with money.

So in that case your happy to pay the cost of the riots as people took what they wanted and expect others to pick up the tab?

Many have said turnover!=profit and no kidding. So this is not a demand for money earned (profit) its on the necessary running cost as well. If you were taxed more than you earn would you not think that was fucked up? Or does it give you a warm feeling that your robbed blind but paying for other peoples services?

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WTF?

Re: Fuck them all

<Meanwhile, in AC's twisted little world>

*RING RING*

"Allo, Une Une Deux, vhat iz your emergency monsieur?"

"Hi buddy, this is Chuck E Cheeze, head of Legal at Monstro Corporation in the US OF A. One of our depots in Je Ne Sais Q'oui-ville has been burgled by a load of your fellow garlic munchers and Uncle Sam insists you get off your little Frog behind and investigate ."

"Votre taxe ne paie pas pour les services de police, investgate vous-même! Bonne journée! "

<click>

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Re: Fuck them all

'but the services you mention are services for YOU not a business. The roads and sanitation make sense for the business but the rest is for you. '

Not true. Companies benefit directly from countries that have skilled workers because of free universal education systems. They benefit from decent public healthcare provision because they either don't have to directly pay medical insurance premiums (as in the US) and when someone is ill they can generally get fixed quickly.

Companies exist as part of society, and benefit from the services the state provides. That some make use of tax avoidance schemes isn't moral, but it's a direct result of both legislative failure, and the amoral nature of profit before anything else.

Easy way of sorting this out - stop all this nonsense about being able to register companies overseas. If you want to trade in Britain a company should have to have a UK base, not be able to set up an HQ in Dublin and move it's revenues around to end up in Bermuda.

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Vic
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Re: Fuck them all

> If you want to trade in Britain a company should have to have a UK base

But that is trivially worked around.

UK base must buy the services it resells. It buys them from a company in Bermuda, for little less than it sells them for. And the Bermudan company has a strangely-similar name...

The trouble with trying to solve a complex problem with simplistic "solutions" is that you usually end up worse off than when you started.

Vic.

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Re: Fuck them all

Thanks for the reply.

How would you fix it, since it's always good when someone who says 'That won't work' has an idea of what would.

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Re: Fuck them all

A solution, elect me supreme ruler with cartle blanche. Several firing squads later company execs will be less hasty to optimise their tax bills.

I totally understand your sentiment, however I don't think there is any easy answer. It's not like we can really tax the imported services, EU free trade etc. Taxing on turnover is worse than loosing the tax. Rewriting the tax code entirely is an option although this is limited by obligations to conform to EU rules on levels of tax.

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Re: Fuck them all

You're a penis. Corporations use more than the roads and sanitation. They too get the benefits of the police and the fire department and in real countries (the ones that provide healthcare) they do benefit from having a healthier workforce.

Corporations are also the ones who put the most stain on services too. Your average person doesn't drive a loaded lorry around as their family vehicle nor do their homes have a hundreds of people concentrated into one area shitting and using the water.

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Anonymous Coward

@toadwarrior

When did a business walk into a hospital last? The police may visit the premises after a crime I suppose but they were pretty pointless during the riots or concerning most of their legal issues.

The various people who work there get services and the business contributes, that is not the debate. The challenge in this article is that the turnover (not profit!!!) should be taxed because the people dont want to pay more for their services.

And so nobody wants to pay more than they have to. The argument comes back around and laughs at "your a penis". The argument you dont like them paying less because you must pay more applies to both sides. But its you who wants the service.

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Re: @toadwarrior

They may not use hospitals, but hospitals (in theory at least) are paid for by NI which technically is not a tax (although taking a mandatory percentage of your wage for a service provided by the government is about as close to the definition of tax as it gets).

People pay tax, in return they in theory get services. Businesses pay tax, in return they get services. The exact division of who pays how much rarely relates to how much is used. I pay a fecking shedload of tax (mostly because I don't **** with my taxes unlike some), I do get some stuff in return but not all that much, but someone else might pay no tax and get the same amount. Is that fair? In some ways no and in some yes. I am taxed at a rate I can afford, at least thats the theory. I wouldn't want to pay less tax if the trade off is someone with bugger all money not having enough to eat. So yes companies use services and pay taxes but perhaps not in the same ratio as citizens, but hopefully based on what they can afford. In reality they weasel out of as much as they can which I do object to. They benefit from security from our armed forces and police. They benefit from the fire service. They benefit from our infrastructure to move their products around. It is not a one sided deal where poor helpless little corporations are taken advantage of. A country needs money to run, most of us have to pay some, companies included.

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Re: Fuck them all

"> If you want to trade in Britain a company should have to have a UK base

But that is trivially worked around.

UK base must buy the services it resells. It buys them from a company in Bermuda, for little less than it sells them for. And the Bermudan company has a strangely-similar name..."

Hence the suggestion of taxing based on turnover... If a company makes so little money that they cannot have a 2% turnover tax (if we assume 10% profit then that translates into 20% tax, about what corporation tax is) then they will go out of business anyway.

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Tax Rates

The one thing I've never liked about taxes. There's too many, and they all vary.

We're taxed when we get paid, when we pay for something, when we save, when we don't, when we go to the doctors. And they all vary.

I'd much rather see them go. "Alright y'know what. We're getting rid of VAT, and we're getting rid of these other taxes. There's now a single flat rate on your paychecks, but we've upped minimum wage"

Effectively we get taxed more on our paychecks, but it's from a single location. Suddenly everything is 20% cheaper though, so that doesn't matter as much.

And the reason I say a flat rate and not a climbing rate is simply because the climbing rate has far too large a jumps.

Lets face it. And I'm using random numbers here because I don't know what rate it is your tax increases.

You pay tax bracket A on up to £30,000 You currently get paid £29,500.

You get a payrise, you're now on £30,000 hooray. But now you're in tax bracket B, so you're actually earning £1000 less, boo.

I admit though, a flat tax rate would hit the poor far worse than the rich. But that's also why I brought up increasing minimum wage, to counter balance this.

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Re: Tax Rates

Income tax doesn't work like that (in the UK anyway).

To take your eaxmple, what you earn up to £30,000 would be taxed at rate A, and anything you earn above £30k would be taxed at rate B, so you always get more net pay when your salary increases. Note that when you take into account benefits (for total income) this might not be true anymore.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tax Rates

There is another little spoken of issue with taxes, in that governments think they can spend your money more efficiently than you.

If they didnt take so much tax, there would be more money in the economy, you would have more money in your pocket and you would be able to buy that new car, house, windows and therefore company X makes more profit, employees more staff etc....

To increase taxes to then re-spend it to stimulate the economy is just plain stupid

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Pint

Re: Tax Rates

So you would take care of the infrastructure the army and the police, hospitals and so forth. Feel stupid, friend.

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Re: Tax Rates

'company X makes more profit, employees more staff etc....

Should read:

'company x makes more profit which it gives to it's shareholders, meanwhile keeping a firm grip on employee compensation & ensuring minimum staffing levels to further increase it's profit margins.'

Your argument is fallacious - it's basically a variant on the trickle down theory that says as the rich get richer, the poor get richer too because of some magical cake crumb effect from the rich spending more on services. A quick look at the two countries that have practised this approach most closely - UK & US - and their Gini coefficients over that period reveals the theory to be a crock of shit.

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Re: Tax Rates

None of the tax you pay is spent on infrastructure or "services".

All income tax in the UK is paid back out in welfare benefits - i.e. the UK gov. spends more on welfare than it takes in income tax.

Therefore, all the other taxes (mostly paid by business) pay for all the infrastructure and "services".

Basically, everyone who works pays all their taxes to support those who don't.

And the "evil" 1% pay 25% of all income tax, while the top 10% pay half of all income tax.

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Re: Tax Rates

"A quick look at the two countries that have practised this approach most closely - UK & US - and their Gini coefficients over that period reveals the theory to be a crock of shit."

Under Reagan the US had massive job growth. Now, the labour participation rate under Obama hasn't been lower since the last year of Jimmy Carter.

Obama recently redefined full time employment, lowering the required hours to just 30 a week. He's moved unprecedented numbers of people out of the labour pool.

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Anonymous Coward

UK-Ireland-Holland-Bermuda

THIS is how to do it, lads, all ye self-employed UK plebs! - Follow Google, the leaders in innovation: provide services in the UK, sent revenue to Ireland, declare your tax there, route it to Holland, and transfer to Bermuda, where you are officially located.

(actually this bit gets confusing, i.e. what gets routed where, presumably tax obligations half the way, and tax-free revenue, all the way round?

p.s. don't forget to then transfer it back to your bank account in another warm-climate, tax-friendly country.

...

no can do! But... why?! Why can't I be like Google and be praised by our Glorious Leader and, instead, have to pay ALL my tax here, OR ELSE, and this "else" is no mean else, mind you!

And I can't even f... go past those armoured gates in London, to see Mr Cameron, to ask him those questions :(

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Unhappy

Re: UK-Ireland-Holland-Bermuda

That's what "free trade" is all about, ain't it great?!

Because if a corporation doesn't like the local tax rate / regulations, they can just pack up and leave and set up shop in another country, you know the globalized free market. Just like if I'm a farmer in Mexico and I don't like the local wages, I can just pack up and leave and move to a country where the wages are better... right? Oh. Only the money flows freely, if the people flowed freely and wages equalized in a gloabl free market that would make obscene profits harder to come by and we just can't have that now can we.

Also nice how if a corporation is doing business, or even just planning on doing business, and a government changes or implements a regulation that might have an effect on future income, well with all these free trade deals it's getting more and more common that the corporation can sue the government to make up for the lost profits, because obviously if they planned on making that much money then that's guaranteed to be what would have happened if that pesky public health department / whatever hadn't got their fingers in and made the work less "efficient". Just like if government introduces a new user pay fee for service, or makes me go out and get a helmet to ride my bicycle or get a hands free device to drive with my cell phone, well that gives me a good legal case to recover my lost income.... right? Oh. I see, totally different, right.

Tariffs are protectionist and protectionism is baaaad mkay. Yay free trade! So now if I order something online from out of country, when it gets here there won't be any surprise tax / duty / brokerage fees to pay extra? Oh.

Corporations are persons. No they're not they're overlords with way more rights than the pathetic useless human parasites who should be thankful to have a chance to suckle at corporate tits.

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Re: UK-Ireland-Holland-Bermuda

You can, just become self-employed, register your company in the channel islands/bermuda/etc get your current boss to pay that company rather than you.

This used to be very popular because you paid yourself in dividends which are/were taxed at 10% and no NI. But the government caught onto this and decided you are no longer self-employed and you get to pay both employer and employee NI.

The Jimmy Carr method is never to pay yourself at all - just have your offshore company lend you money every month which one day you might have to pay back - so no tax. This is what rock bands used to do in the 70s with supertax.

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Anonymous Coward

this could be a controlled leak

just to put a little pressure on Google: you pay our (limping, robbed, iefficient) media for linking to their sites, and we forget about the tax issue.

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Big Brother

Re: this could be a controlled leak

If the French Gov wanted to control a leak they wouldn't go anywhere near Le Canard with it - they'd get piss all down their leg.

Grand Frere is too busy preening himself in the mirror to be watching the plebs.

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Bronze badge

No chance

France has absolutely no chance with this. None whatsoever.

Corporation tax within the EU is deliberately and specifically designed to produce this sort of result.

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Anonymous Coward

They should close them in Britain

and back date it 10 years. Like they are doing to the little guy right now. Imagine the money they could make in one clap if they back dated the ruling 10 years?

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Anonymous Coward

A couple of points:

1. Google is not breaking any French tax laws

2. Any failure on the part of the French to collect taxes from Google reflects an inability on their part to draft effective legislation

It would appear that the correct solution would be to draft appropriate legislation. Not start demanding money that is not owed.

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Re: A couple of points:

Actually it may well be - transfer pricing isn't just a made up number (weil not quite) - technically it has to have some basis behind the calculations and justifications for the charges. The money gets routed back to Bermuda because (I'm guessing), Google Bermuda owns a significant portion of the IP and charges France for it. Similarly, management and probably the bulk of the servers are not located in France and so Google France gets charged for those. What the French Gov is probably doing is challenging the 'value' of these charges - certainly for the more intangible side of things around marketing and IP and therefore reducing the costs/increasing the profit and therefore the tax.

The problem here is that some of these will be judgmental and will need the French to be able to disprove Google's allocations - which will be subject, no doubt, to court ruling in both France and ultimately the EU. As this will hit the EU a 'victory' for France will be a 'loss' for Ireland/Netherlands in this example and so will be driven more by politics than the realities of the case. I predict a lot of posturing from both sides followed by some under the table settlement that both parties can claim means they 'win'

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One way to stop it...

...would be to declare licencing fees paid to parent companies non tax deductible.

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Thumb Up

Good move by the french. More companies need to do this and nail the tax dodger's balls to the wall.

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Anonymous Coward

A Govt can do what it likes with tax, such as a tax on money moved by a corp to Bermuda. They then apply that to Google. If Google France goes bust because they "don't make a profit" via ruses such as license fees for branding or Google logo paper coffee cups, then the French Govt can make their carriers announce 74.125.0.0/16, 173.194.0.0/16, 209.85.128.0/17 & 72.14.192.0/18 . That should get their attention.

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Its all well and good to say that starbucks, Google etc should pay more tax here but where as this will increase the tax revenue the government gets it will result in those companies increasing prices to their customers to make up for the loss in revenue. So ultimately your next cup of coffee or a shiny nexus 7 will be more expensive and then everyone will be complaining that prices are too high.

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How, when, where?

If what they've done is perfectly legal, how can they be stung for what sounds like a punishment tax? Surely it's up to governments to close loopholes and then use due process through the courts to prosecute alleged offenders.

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Coat

In the UK the Inland Revenue now has powers to declare an existing tax avoidance scheme "ineffective", upon which those using said scheme must cough up all the unpaid tax - not that the IR would ever do this where a large corporate was involved.

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Anonymous Coward

WTF, is this a Communist Party gathering?

They don't pay their fair share, what they do is legal but immoral, nationalize them ... WTF?

Sure, chase Google out, chase all of them rich bastards out, after all, they got rich by stealing from you the plebs, right? Right? How dare Google point the public to a web page published by a French entity (publish ... public, see what I did there?), they need to pay for that privilege, right? Oh, shit, I'm posting this from across the pond, is there a tax associated with that? Sure there must be a nice EU office somewhere set up for this eventuality? What do I owe for this privilege?

While we're at ranting, screw free trade, who needs that anyway! All your profits (or make that all your revenue) are belong to us, we're the government and we know better what's good for you, can't you see how hard we work for you for only about 65-ish % of everything that you earn? Crap, if Google took their service, renamed it to fromage.fr and gave it to the French government, they would still be called criminals and asked to pay to keep it running.

I'm afraid there's no hope for you blokes, keep at it, workers of the world!

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Re: WTF, is this a Communist Party gathering?

People have been brainwashed into thinking government knows best and does best, and that the failing schools and dirty hospitals are all due to too little money, and if only the rich paid their fair share everything would be okay.

Labour doubled the NHS budget with little noticeable result (except GP pay packets got thicker and their hours got smaller).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=661pi6K-8WQ

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FAIL

Re: WTF, is this a Communist Party gathering?

"I'm posting this from across the pond"

You do know that Google are screwing the US IRS in exactly the same way, don't you?

See this article

"Sources said it was "bringing more than typical scrutiny" to techniques known as the "Double Irish" and "Dutch Sandwich", which move revenues through units in Ireland, the Netherlands, and Bermuda.

The complex revenue shuffle is legal and is used by countless US multi-nationals. However, the tactic cost the US treasury an estimated $90bn in tax revenues in 2008, according to Kimberly Clausing, an economics professor at Reed College.

Over three years Google is estimated to have saved $3.1bn in tax revenues using a subsidiary located in Bermuda where the corporate tax rate is zero."

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Anonymous Coward

Legal vs Moral

Tax payment is not a moral obligation. It is a legal one.

Google fulfills any real or imagined moral obligation by providing jobs for their french staff, each of whom will pay an income tax. Google probably also pays directly for any other benefit they get from France, so why on top of all that, do people have the cheek to suggest that they should have a moral obligation to pay Corporation Tax there?

I don't see tax as a moral obliation. I see it as a form of state-sponsored extortion. Fair enough there are various state services that have to be paid for, but I for one would be much better off if I paid for each of those services myself as and when I needed them, as opposed to having 35%-50% my pay packet stolen by the government every month. As a citizen of a free country, I should be afforded the choice to opt out of the tax system ( and by extension all of its supposed benefits )..

As for people "less fortunate" ( aka lazy bastards ), why should they be supported free of charge? I strongly suspect that a lot of these "less fortunate" would suddenly become "more fortunate" if they weren't being propped up by the tax payer.

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