The French government will appeal a court ruling that US internet giant Google is not liable for 1.12 billion euros ($1.27 billion) in taxes claimed by the state, Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin said today. “We will appeal this ruling to safeguard the interests of the state,” Darmanin told parliament. The court ruled yesterday that France could not claim tax on revenues generated by Google in France that were transferred to its Irish subsidiary GIL. Taxes are far lower in Ireland, a legal loophole prized by many multinationals in Europe. The French claim was the latest in a series against the California-based group, with Britain and Italy agreeing settlements over the Irish tax arrangement. European action has become increasingly aggressive against US technology giants Amazon, Facebook and Apple as well as Google. The EU hit Google with a record 2.4 billion euro fine on June 27 for abusing its dominant position in the search engine business and illegally favouring its own shopping service over rivals.
Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron promised to get tough on US internet giants during his campaign, seeing their low tax rates as a source of resentment about globalisation and unfair on European companies.
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The French claim is a fraction of the company’s annual profits. In April, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, declared a 29 per cent jump in profit to $5.4 billion in the first quarter of 2017.