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October 11, 2013

Google moves €8.8bn to Bermuda to cut overseas tax rate to 5%

The search engine firm has sparked further debate over tax affairs.

By CBR Staff Writer

Google shifted €8.8bn of revenues to Bermuda last year, up a quarter on 2011, sparking further debate over search engine’s tax affairs.

The tech giant has reduced its international tax rate to about 5% by legally directing profits from its global subsidiaries into Bermuda, as the country does not charge corporate income tax.

Citing the latest filings by one of Google’s Dutch units, the FT revealed that the amount of royalty payments also includes €233m from one of its subsidiaries in Singapore.

Filings also show that the royalty payments made to Bermuda have almost doubled during the past three years.

In December 2012, Google shifted $9.8bn in revenues to its Bermuda subsidiary to stay away from paying the global income tax of about $2bn in 2011.

Reports revealed during the time that the amount transferred to Google’s Bermuda subsidiary was equivalent to about 80% of its overall pretax profit during the year, which could boost anger over tax dodging by large international firms.

Google was also probed by UK lawmakers for adopting complex accounting methods to avoid tax liabilities in the country, though the search engine firm said it is operating legally.

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