US technology giant Google funnelled nearly €15bn in royalties through the Netherlands to the tax haven of Bermuda in 2015, an increase of €4.3bn over the previous year, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Wednesday.
The figures were revealed in the annual report of Google Netherlands Holdings lodged with the Amsterdam chamber of commerce on Tuesday.
Since 2004 Google has used the Dutch holding company to move income from royalties, payments for the use of the trade name and intellectual property rights to Google Ireland Holdings Unlimited. The Irish company holds these rights for Google outside the US.
Google Ireland Holdings Unlimited is registered in Ireland but headquartered in Bermuda. Bermuda has no corporate tax.
Of the royalties moved through the Netherlands, €12bn is generated by another Google unit in Ireland, Google Ireland Limited, which receives advertising income for the company generated outside the US. The remaining €2.9bn came from Singapore-based Google Asia Pacific.
The 2015 annual report revealed that €12.3m of the nearly €15bn in royalties remained in the Netherlands and attracted €3.1m in corporate tax.
The Google method is known as ‘Double Irish’ with a ‘Dutch sandwich’ and is completely legal. Officially, Google must pay US corporate tax of 35% on its global earnings. But Google has a simple answer to that: keep money earned outside the US outside American jurisdiction, the FD said.
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