Google Gets Boost in Fight Over $1.3 Billion French Tax Bill

Updated on
  • Tax authority seeking back taxes from search engine giant
  • Court aide says Google’s Irish unit can’t be forced to pay

Google should be let off the hook from a 1.12 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) tax recovery order in France even though fiscal authorities in the country are seeking to recoup that amount, according to an adviser at the Paris administrative court.

Google’s European headquarters in Ireland doesn’t have a permanent establishment in France that would force the company to pay the back taxes claimed by the French administration, the adviser said at a Wednesday hearing reported by Agence France-Presse and confirmed by a court official.

“The current case highlights the weaknesses of the current legal basis,” the adviser said in a non-binding opinion on the case, according to AFP. The ruling will be handed down by mid-July.

In a parallel criminal case, French prosecutors raided the Alphabet Inc. unit’s Paris office in May 2016 after months of preparation spent offline to prevent leaks. The ongoing criminal probe seeks to verify whether Google’s Irish unit has permanent establishment in France and whether the firm failed to declare part of its income in the country.

Google’s representatives in France declined to comment, stating that the process is ongoing.

— With assistance by Marie Mawad

(Updates with Google declining to comment in last paragraph.)
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