Internet giant Google moved €128bn to Bermuda using a Dutch subsidiary between 2012 and 2019, generating some €25m for the Dutch tax office, broadcaster NOS said on Wednesday.
The construction was made possible by the fact the Netherlands does not levy tax on royalties and Bermuda’s role as a tax haven, NOS said.
The company stopped using the construction last year and the Netherlands has introduced a tax on incoming royalties from 2021.
The broadcaster calculates that the construction allowed Google to avoid a maximum of €38bn in tax in the US, based on the corporate taxation rates in operation at the time.
Google told the broadcaster in a reaction that the calculations are based on a fictitious scenario and that the company has paid an effective tax rate of 21% over the past 10 years, of which 80% in the US.
Some 10,000 shell, or letter-box, companies are based in the Netherlands and are primarily used to shift corporate earnings and obscure ownership. Google has used its Dutch affiliate to move money since 2004.
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