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Google hit with epic tax bill following Australian government audit

(Image credit: Future)

Google has settled with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for AU$481.5 million (about $330m) after a prolonged dispute over the tax it paid in the country over the last decade.

After an extensive audit by the ATO on the tax the tech giant owed between 2008 and 2018, it was found that Google was paying well under the required 30% for multinational corporate entities.

For the 2017-2018 financial year, Google paid just AU$37.2m on its taxable income of AU$188.1m (with a total revenue of AU$1.03 billion). This works out as 19.8%, with the previous two years clocking in at 18.6% and 13.2% respectively.

Before Australia instituted the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL) in 2015, Google was using its Singapore branch to bill Australian customers, but it since became a local reseller, making it beholden to the country’s taxes.

Similar settlements have been arrived at with Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft in the last two years as a result of the MAAL. The extra money brought in since 2017 from these four tech giants totals AU$1.25bn, and that’s not counting the tax that these companies initially paid.

Google’s settlement with the Australian government follows a similar situation in France where it was fined €500m on top of having to pay back €465m in taxes (a total of over $1bn) after a four year investigation by the French government.