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24 Feb, 2016

Google slashed taxes by $3.4b using European subsidiaries – Sydney Morning Herald

Google saved $US2.4 billion ($3.4 billion) in worldwide taxes in 2014 by shifting €10.7 billion ($16.7 billion) in international revenues to a Bermuda shell company, Alphabet Inc., the parent of the Web-search provider, regulatory filings show.

The amount Google moved through its Dutch subsidiary, Google Netherlands Holdings, and then on to Bermuda represents the bulk of its profits overseas. The amount transferred to Bermuda was 16 per cent greater than the prior year, according to documents the subsidiary filed with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce on February 4 and made available this week. The filing was first reported by the Dutch magazine Quote.

The revelation comes as Google faces outrage in Europe and other markets including Australia over the small amount of tax it pays in those countries. Last month, after Google reached a controversial £130 million ($262 million) settlement with the UK government over an audit covering 10 years of accounts, critics called the amount “derisory.” The deal spawned parliamentary hearings, a government audit and scrutiny from the European Union. France and Italy are also reportedly in discussions with Google to settle ongoing tax disputes. In Australia, legislators have in recent weeks questioned whether the company is paying a fair share of tax.

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