Internet giant shifted 19.9b euros through Dutch shell company to Bermuda, documents show
Google moved 19.9 billion euros ($22.7 billion) through a Dutch shell company to an offshore tax haven in Bermuda in 2017, according to documents filed at the Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands.
The money was moved as part of a scheme to reduce its foreign tax bill, cutting the search engine giant’s taxes considerably.
The filings show that Google has increased the amount it shifts off-shore by several billion dollars over the previous tax year.
The amount funneled through Google Netherlands Holdings BV was around 4 billion euros ($4.56b) more than in 2016, the docs, filed on Dec. 21, showed.
“We pay all of the taxes due and comply with the tax laws in every country we operate in around the world,” Google said in a statement.
“Google, like other multinational companies, pays the vast majority of its corporate income tax in its home country, and we have paid a global effective tax rate of 26 percent over the last ten years.”
According to the Epoch Times, for more than a decade, the arrangement has allowed Google owner Alphabet to enjoy an effective tax rate in the single digits on its non-U.S. profits, around a quarter the average tax rate in its overseas markets.
The subsidiary in the Netherlands is used to shift revenue from royalties earned outside the United States to Google Ireland Holdings, an affiliate based in Bermuda, where companies pay no income tax.
The tax strategy, known as the “Double Irish, Dutch Sandwich,” is legal and allows Google to avoid triggering U.S. income taxes or European withholding taxes on the funds, which represent the bulk of its overseas profits.
However, under pressure from the European Union and the United States, Ireland in 2014 decided to phase out the arrangement, ending Google’s tax advantages in 2020.
Google Netherlands Holdings BV paid 3.4 million euros in taxes in the Netherlands in 2017, the documents showed, on a gross profit of 13.6 million euros.
Google has been dogged by a number of ongoing controversies of late.
In December last year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was grilled by Congressional lawmakers before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, answering questions on his company’s practices including censorship, political bias, and personal data handling.
Among other things, Pichai was quizzed about videos that discuss Hillary Clinton “sexually abusing and consuming the remains of children, often in satanic rituals,” on YouTube.
During his testimony, Pichai was asked why Google-owned YouTube has videos about “Frazzledrip” – a theory that suggests Hillary Clinton and her staff drink the blood of young children during a Satanic ritual and wear masks made of human skin.
The “Frazzledrip” conspiracy theory alleges that a video exists on the Dark Web of Clinton and her former aide Huma Abedin performing the said ritual, with alleged “screenshots” of the video making their way onto Internet forums.
YouTube videos about “Frazzledrip” have been viewed millions of times, and during Pichai’s questioning, Democrat Jamie Raskin jumped right in and asked if Pichai knew about the popular underground theory.
In response, Mr. Pichai said that he was “not aware of the specifics about it.”