France to seek €1.6bn in back taxes from Google, says official

Finance ministry source says France is demanding money from the US internet giant, which has come under scrutiny for alleged tax avoidance practices

The French finance minister, Michel Sapin, has ruled out striking a deal with Google, as the British government recently did. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

France is seeking €1.6bn ($1.76bn) in back taxes from US internet giant Google, criticised for its use of aggressive tax optimisation techniques, a source at the finance ministry says.

“As far as our country is concerned, back taxes concerning this company amount to €1.6bn,” the official, who declined to be named, said on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for Google France declined to comment. An unsourced 2012 media report mentioned a claim for €1bn by French authorities, which Google denied at the time.

The tax authority usually issues at least one preliminary assessment before its final assessment, which can be challenged in court if not accepted, tax advisers say.

Earlier this month, the finance minister, Michel Sapin, ruled out striking a deal with the US search engine company as the British government recently did, saying the sums at stake in France were “far greater” than those in Britain.

Google reached a £130m ($181m) settlement with British tax authorities for the period since 2005, which British politicians criticised on Tuesday as “disproportionately small”.

[Source:- Gurdian]