French court rules in Google Ireland’s favour over €1.12bn tax bill

13 Jul 2017

Google’s Dublin office. Image: Avillfoto/Shutterstock

Google Ireland escapes whopping tax bill thanks to French decision.

Google’s Irish operation has avoided a €1.12bn tax bill after a French court found it did not abuse any loopholes.

The plaintiffs had accused Google Ireland of not paying its fair share of tax in France between 2005 and 2010, claiming that the company was taking sales it made in France and routing them through Ireland.

Future Human

According to The Irish Times, it was decided by the French court that because Google also has a large office in Paris, its Irish office cannot be also taxed by France.

In a brief statement, Google said: “The French administrative court of Paris has confirmed Google abides by French tax law and international standards. We remain committed to France and the growth of its digital economy.”

However, another case that followed raids against Google’s Paris office complex last year is seeking to clarify whether Google Ireland maintains a presence there in some shape or form, and whether it has failed to declare income in the country.

Avoiding one fine, possibly paying another

Despite the win revealed today (13 July), Google is still expected to pay a record fine in Europe after it was decided last month that the company abused its dominance in the search engine business and gave itself an illegal advantage over other comparison-shopping services.

The resulting legal case has seen Google hit with a €2.42bn fine by the European Commission (EC).

Google’s SVP and general counsel, Kent Walker, issued a statement following the case where he disagreed with nearly all points raised by the EC.

“When you shop online, you want to find the products you’re looking for quickly and easily,” said Walker, “and advertisers want to promote those same products.

“That’s why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both.”

Google’s Dublin office. Image: Avillfoto/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic