Google has agreed to pay a nearly $550 million fine to settle an investigation in France over its tax practices, Reuters reports.
Google reaps tax benefits from operating in Ireland
The company’s European office is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, and like other companies, it reaps tax benefits from operating in the country. French officials had been probing whether Google failed to report all of its taxable work in France.
Along with the €500 million payment, a Google spokesperson said the company will also pay €465 million (about $515,000) in other tax payments.
“We have now settled tax and related disputes in France that have persisted for many years,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “The settlements comprise a €500 million payment that was ordered today by a French court, as well as €465 million in additional taxes that we had agreed to pay, and that have been substantially reflected in our prior financial results. We continue to believe that the best way to provide a clear framework for companies that operate around the world is co-ordinated reform of the international tax system.”
The fine is small for a revenue behemoth like Google, although it follows another recent fine from the United States Federal Trade Commission. Earlier this month, the FTC announced that Google would be penalized $170 million over allegations that YouTube violated a children’s digital privacy law.
Still, the European Union is seen as taking the most aggressive regulatory stance against the tech industry. France, in particular, passed a law over the summer directly increasing tax payments for online platforms. The legislation, which would hit major companies like Facebook and Google, quickly triggered criticism from US trade officials.