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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, July 21, 2017

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Google wins reprieve in one of its biggest legal battles in Europe

Paris court threw out a $1.27 billion tax bill

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PARIS, France - Google has won a reprieve from one of its biggest legal battles in Europe after a Paris court threw out a $1.27 billion tax bill.

France’s tax authority had handed the bill to Alphabet-owned Google for five years of back taxes.

The decision issued on Wednesday saw Paris’s administrative tribunal ruling that Google’s lucrative advertising-sales business had no taxable presence in France.

The court’s decision, covering the years 2005 to 2010, absolves Google of income or sales taxes on advertising income from French clients.

The decision also backs Google’s position in a dispute that has dragged on for more than six years, and could have implications for other tax battles in Europe.

Commenting on the decision, a Google spokesman said that the court “has confirmed Google abides by French tax law and international standards.” 

The spokesman added, “We remain committed to France and the growth of its digital economy.”

Later in the day, French Budget Minister Gérald Darmanin said that the tax authority is analyzing the decision with a view to appealing it.

He noted, “The significant role of French employees in Google’s commercial activity in France.”

While the decision, which is subject to appeal, it comes as a victory for Google and will serve as an example for other Silicon Valley firms facing multiple regulatory battles on topics including taxes, competition and privacy.

Google also got a boost last month when an adviser at the Paris administrative court delivered a non-binding opinion that the company should be let off the hook in part because of weaknesses in the legislation.

 

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