Google Dodges $1.6 Billion Penalty After Winning Court Case In France

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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Google doesn’t have to pay roughly $1.6 billion in back taxes, a French court ruled Wednesday.

Authorities in France failed to prove their case that the tech conglomerate didn’t pay enough in taxes between 2005 and 2010, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Due to Google’s business structure, it sold online advertisements displayed in the country through a subsidiary in Ireland, a tax refuge for many tech giants. The court reportedly argued that Google’s subdivision in France was not solely capable of conducting extensive marketing operations in the country, and that the subsidiary is necessary for its services.

The case is yet another example of governing bodies in Europe threatening, or directly engaging in, legal battles with U.S. tech companies, specifically Google.

The European Union’s antitrust arm slapped a record $2.71 billion fine on Google at the end of June for allegedly favoring some of its price-comparison search results over those of its rivals. Regulators in the larger institution are also weighing the possibility of further penalizing the company, Reuters reports. One potential instance allegedly involves Google’s mobile operating system, Android, and another case pertains to AdSense, its program and platform for publishing advertisements. (RELATED: Diplomat Says Tech Giants Have More Power Than Most Countries)

Due to the litany of the threats from the EU, Google is making sure it has top-notch legal representation ready, hiring at least five of the top law firms in Brussels, Belgium where the European Commission is primarily based.

The EU also went after Apple in 2016 for back taxes, levying a fine of $14.5 billion. The government of Ireland, the tax safe haven where Apple partially operated, said the EU overstepped its bounds with the steep penalty and incorrectly interpreted Irish law. Ireland said it didn’t want the $14.5 billion, but rather just Apple’s business.

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