Sept. 12 (UPI) — Authorities ordered tech giant Google Thursday to pay more than $ 1 billion after a lengthy examination into the company’s business activities in France, which prosecutors suspect were done to evade taxes.
Investigators opened the investigation in 2015, looking for indications Google skirted taxes by failing to report its dealings in France. A legal loophole has allowed many foreign companies to disclose its fiscal records in Ireland, and pay a lower tax rate.
Google’s European headquarters are located in Dublin, but prosecutors say the company failed to disclose its activities in France — where they may have been required to pay more.
The punitive action includes a $ 553 million fine and about $ 515 million in taxes.
“We have now settled tax and related disputes in France that have persisted for many years,” a Google spokesperson told Fox Business. “We continue to believe that the best way to provide a clear framework for companies that operate around the world is coordinated reform of the international tax system.”
Earlier this year, France agreed to impose a 3 percent revenue tax against dozens of digital companies, including Google and Amazon. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said the tax was established in the interest of “fiscal justice.”