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A fine history of Google : a victory in trompe-l'oeil for Bercy ?

To settle all of its tax litigation, Google has agreed to pay one billion euros to France, and escapes to a trial-river. It is an agreement referred to as "hi

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A fine history of Google : a victory in trompe-l'oeil for Bercy ?

To settle all of its tax litigation, Google has agreed to pay one billion euros to France, and escapes to a trial-river.

It is an agreement referred to as "historic" by Bercy. Google has agreed to pay nearly one billion euros to France, in order to settle all of its disputes with the tax authorities French. The american giant of the Internet, under investigation for tax fraud aggravated, puts an end to the prosecution by the public Prosecutor national financial (PNF) since 2015.

justice was alleged that Google had evaded the taxman more than € 189 million between 2011 and 2016, thanks to a financial arrangement which was transiting the income from its French subsidiary between its various entities in Ireland, the netherlands and Bermuda. With such an alembic tax, it was difficult for Paris to collect the tax from the multinational company.


In entering into this agreement, Google avoids a trial-river, that could last for years and affect his image, up to compromising the careers of its leaders. But above all, the giant of the digital razed years 2011-2016 by signing a cheque to 10 digits. "It erases everything ! It is win-win : Google gets rid of a matter annoying and the State gets a billion", summarizes with The Express Vincent Renoux, a lawyer in tax law and business taxation.

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If Google was big to win with such an agreement, Bercy is not at rest. "This agreement is historic, both for our public finances and because it marks the end of an era", welcomed the minister's Action and of the public Accounts, Gérald Darmanin. In fact, Paris had the possibility of scoring points in its fight against the GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple). "France has managed to pay one of the most iconic GAFA, who had developed a complex assembly allowing it to evade a portion of his taxes in France," recalls Vincent Renoux.

READ ALSO > Google France still pays less in taxes

diplomatic Appeasement

The information is not anecdotal that Emmanuel Macron has led to a standoff in recent months with Donald Trump to defend his "tax GAFA" - entry in force this year, before reaching an agreement at the G7 summit in Biarritz, at the end of August. The G7 countries have agreed to find in 2020 an agreement for an international tax on the GAFA, and on the day when it will be implemented, France will remove its own fee and refund the difference between the two taxes on the multinational companies involved.

"Concluding this deal with Google is part of the context of appeasement between Washington and Paris. One can also imagine that the u.s. government has had discussions with Google to push it to settle all its disputes in progress", analysis Vincent Renoux. And so go on a sound basis ? In any case, Google has also promised to give more shares to its French subsidiary in the future... and so to declare more profits in the Hexagon.

ALSO READ >> Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron come to the conclusion of the G7

Then Bercy may well boast of having actually bend a GAFA, " continues Vincent Renoux : "This shows that we managed to deliver a form of equity for tax purposes. It was one of the claims of the Yellow Vests. The government may say : 'I pay'. In terms of domestic policy, it is very profitable to the executive."

the tax fairness ?

This observation, however, is far from being shared by Attac, the organization of alter-globalization, which has been struggling for years against the tax optimization of the giants of the digital. According to his spokesperson Raphael Pradeau, as requested by The Express, the agreement with Google is far from meeting this demand tax justice. "If Google agrees to pay, it is to escape a trial. This two tiered justice system is far from being acceptable : Google is not found guilty and it prevents a trial that would have permitted a better understanding of how it is to escape the tax," says Raphael Pradeau, adding that "a little larceny" would surely not have the right to the same treatment.

Read our complete file

Cedric Villani : "It's going to be much more complicated to attack the Gafam" Margrethe Vestager : "It would not make sense to rebuild in the same old world" Laurent Berger : "With this crisis, the social inequalities we explode to the figure"

Attac dreads in addition to a recurrence of the giant of the Internet : while the agreement covers only the years 2011-2016, the organization had shown that only the year 2017, Google had "hidden 85% of its turnover generated in France" in tax havens. "So it does not rule on the issue at all. Google is doing very well as far as Google is not the only problem", is still the spokesperson of the association. In fact, if Bercy was able to conclude several other agreements of this type, with Apple and Amazon in particular, many multinational companies, such as Facebook, Netflix, or even Uber, continue to "escape tax" in France.

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