June 30, 2016
With the release of the Panama Papers and the financially-focused presidential election, everyone is on high alert for wealthy people taking advantage of the system to acquire more money. And while tax havens and returns make their way into the news cycle, the world’s most prominent search engine has been fending off international investigators for longer than you might care to know. And they have just experienced another raid at their Madrid, Spain office.
That’s right, Google just can’t shake the accusations when it comes to tax discrepancies. Their Madrid office was raided by local authorities who claim to be investigating dubious tax arrangements within the company. Fortunately, Google doesn’t seem to have done anything wrong, if a statement from one of their spokesman is any indication.
“We comply with the tax law in Spain, as in every other country in which we operate. We are cooperating fully with the authorities in Madrid to answer their questions, as always,” said a spokesman for Google in a statement.
Unfortunately, that’s what they all say. This raid comes on the heels of another raid that occurred in Google’s Paris, France office less than a month ago. While the Spanish authorities have not divulged how much they believe Google owes, French authorities are expecting payment to the tune of €1.6 billion in back taxes. However, the likelihood of that payment reaching the billions is woeful at best and laughable at worst.
Google was also investigated in the United Kingdom in January and had a paltry £130 million bill levied against them, which is a drop in the bucket of the £4 billion annual revenues Google experienced in the UK alone. The UK office is even based out of Ireland to avoid the larger taxes on the mainland. The Google Tax Evasion Tour is hitting the entire EU and it doesn’t look like they have any intention of slowing down.
If you’re an optimistic proponent of social good, this news is probably more unsettling that you originally assumed. While Google’s commitment to the betterment of society is well-documented, it would appear they’re no better than the selfish, money-grubbing corporations that have made economic inequality a staple of the Western world. And while we search online for the answers to our overdue bills and expensive medical treatments, the search engine we use aggressively avoids paying for their share of the global pie.
H / T Business Insider
Photo: Flickr / Niharb
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