Report: Google Shifted $19B To Bermuda

January 3, 2018 | 0 Comments

Google’s use of a Bermuda company is back in the news, with the internet giant reported to have “moved 15.9 billion euros [$19.2 billion] to a Bermuda shell company in 2016.”

The Bloomberg story said, “Google uses two structures, known as a “Double Irish” and a “Dutch Sandwich,” to shield the majority of its international profits from taxation. The setup involves shifting revenue from one Irish subsidiary to a Dutch company with no employees, and then on to a Bermuda mailbox owned by another Ireland-registered company.

“According to U.S. financial filings, Google’s global effective tax rate in 2016 was 19.3 percent, which it achieved in part by shifting the majority of its international profit to the Bermuda-based entity. Applying that tax rate, Google would have saved $3.7 billion via the 2016 transfer.

“For years, U.S. tax law has given American companies an incentive to keep their foreign earnings offshore by allowing them to defer U.S. taxes until they return those profits to the U.S.

“But that changes this year; the U.S. tax law passed last month will require companies to pay taxes on the overseas income they’ve stockpiled to date at one of two rates: 15.5 percent for income held as cash or cash equivalents and 8 percent for less liquid assets.

“Going forward, U.S. companies that pay relatively low global effective tax rates — a sign that they’re using tax havens — would pay a minimum U.S. tax. That new tax, which begins at a rate of 10.5 percent, wouldn’t apply in cases where a company’s global effective tax rate is 13.125 percent or higher.”

“We pay all of the taxes due and comply with the tax laws in every country we operate in around the world,” a Google spokesman said in a statement. “We remain committed to helping grow the online ecosystem.”

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