France's Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac said on Tuesday Google would
never win a court case contesting a huge tax bill claimed by French
Cahuzac said he had "the most genuine conviction" that the courts would back France's claim against Google over unpaid taxes.
to reporters in Nanterre near Paris, he said French authorities were in
talks with Google and had provided the Internet giant with an estimate
of the amount owed.
Paris-based news weekly Le Canard Enchaine
reported in its edition due to appear Wednesday that the tax bill stood
at 1.7 billion euros ($2.17 billion), up from a previous estimate of a
Google reduces the amount of tax it pays in France
by funnelling most revenue through a Dutch-registered intermediary and
then to a Bermuda-registered holding, Google Ireland Limited, before
reporting it in low-tax Ireland.
France has also demanded $252
million in back taxes from online retailer Amazon, which uses a similar
structure involving a Luxembourg-based holding company to reduce its
exposure to French corporate tax.
Google is also under pressure
for alleged tax avoidance in Britain, where officials have said it paid
only £3.4 million ($5.4 million, 4.2 million euros) in British corporate
tax last year on revenues totalling about £2.5 billion.
interview with the New York Times earlier this month, Google chairman
Eric Schmidt said he hoped the firm would reach a settlement by the end
of the year with authorities in France.