Google will pay $1.1 billion to end two French fiscal cases following years of outrage over the amount of tax it pays in Europe.
France’s financial prosecutor said that a court has approved a $553 million fine the Alphabet Inc. GOOG 1.15% subsidiary agreed to in a settlement of a tax-related criminal probe.
Google confirmed the agreement and said that said it had also previously agreed to pay or more than $500 million in back taxes to France’s tax authority, which has for years argued that Google was underpaying. France has been investigating Google for aggravated tax evasion since 2015, after a complaint from the French tax authority related to the four previous years.
Google, part of Alphabet Inc, pays little tax in most European countries because it reports almost all sales in Ireland. This is possible thanks to a loophole in international tax law but it hinges on staff in Dublin concluding all sales contracts.
Google says it wanted to settle its pending cases and move forward. “We have now settled tax and related disputes in France that have persisted for many years,” a Google spokesman said, adding that the prior settlement with the French tax authority was already substantially reflected in Alphabet’s prior financial results.