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Google and its last-minute tax deals

Neil Hodge | May 16, 2017

Earlier this month technology giant Google settled a rather large tax bill of €306m with Italian authorities that had doggedly been pursuing the company for years.

As per usual with Google and other major companies that have hit the headlines in the European press for aggressive tax avoidance—Apple, Starbucks, Amazon, and so on—Italy’s beef was due to the stark numerical contrast between the billions of dollars in sales the U.S. technology company makes from European consumers and the rather paltry tax payments it makes to the countries where these customers live. For example, in 2014 Google paid just €2.2m in Italian taxes, according to company filings.

Italy’s tax authority, the Agenzia delle Entrate, said that the settlement resulted from an investigation into Google’s taxes between 2009 and 2013. The figure also included smaller amounts from disputes between 2014 and 2015, as well as between 2002 and 2006. In addition, the tax agency has said that talks...

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