Google Owes $1.8 Billion to France In Back Taxes

Paris, and the rest of France, attracts hundreds of thousands of American and European tourists all year long, and remains a highly coveted destination. The Lourve continues to be the most visited museum in the world, and on average, a tourist in France spends 62 euros a day.

However, all that tourism money doesn’t make up for the $1.8 billion (1.6 billion euros) that Google owes the country in unpaid taxes.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai met with France’s economy minister Emmanuel Macron, soon after pleading for a simpler global tax system.

The French treasury has long been seeking one billion euros from the American company for avoiding local taxes by using a widespread, legal, corporate revenue-shifting scheme. Now, the FISC (French version of IRS), is demanding an extra 600 million euros for late payment interest fees.

Stephane Richard, the CEO of Orange, France’s leading telecom operator, says “It’s just not acceptable that Google, which makes about one billion euros in revenue in France, doesn’t pay taxes.”

While Google does not actual report its exact revenue generated in France, some estimate it to be around 200 million euros.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, struck a deal with UK tax authorities to pay back the 130 million pound ($181M) in back taxes for a 10-year period.

Italian authorities are also seeking around 300 million euros in back taxes over the course of six years.

The tax issues between large corporations and European countries have been an increasingly frequent issue.

Competition authorities in Europe have been trying to examine whether some deals between big corporations and national tax authorities might amount to illegal state aid.

Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler were told that they had to pay back up to 30 million euros in taxes after European tax breaks were ruled to be illegal.

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