Google isn’t paying its taxes. The multi-billion dollar corporation has been under scrutiny for shifting to using shell companies in Bermuda, Ireland and elsewhere to shelter at least $33 billion of revenue.
It’s the same old story of a corporation avoiding taxes to maximize short-term profits and CEO pay-outs, while ordinary people are left to foot the bill for critical services -- our children’s schools, fire, police, teachers, roads and hospitals -- which directly benefit the company.
This week Google’s shareholders are proposing a comprehensive tax policy at the shareholder meeting. If enough of us support them we could get Google to pay the $2 billion it owes in taxes around the world and ensure it complies with national laws that benefit Google’s customers, employees, suppliers and society as a whole.
Google is one of the most notorious multinational corporations exploiting cross-border tax loopholes across the world:
In the UK, Google only paid £11.6 million despite making a £5.5 billion profit channeling its profits through Ireland to Bermuda where no taxes are levied.
In the US, Google has been investigated by US Senator Carl Levin for deferring taxes on over $24 billion of revenue.
In Italy, the company is being audited by the Tax Police for its tax avoidance strategies -- even its offices have been searched.
In France, Google's tax avoidance prompted the government to institute policies to prevent tax evasion by internet giants like Google.
Across the globe, cash-strapped governments are imposing austerity. Governments are cutting essential public services and tax avoidance means ordinary people have to pay the price for massive profits being funnelled away into tax havens. What is more, tax avoidance severely exacerbates growing inequality around the world.
This shareholder season we are sucessfully mobilizing investors to hold corporations to account. We supported Kellogg's shareholders pressuring the company to report human right abuses; we have flooded Vanguard and Fidelity's facebook walls urging them to vote for Duke Energy to disclose political contributions; and we asked these big mutual funds to stop overpaying CEOs at fast food companies while workers make $9 an hour.
We have done all that and we can do more -- we can get Google to pay its taxes.
For more information:
Google Revenues Sheltered in No-Tax Bermuda Soar to $10 Billion, Bloomberg, December 10 2012.
MPs challenge Google over UK tax reporting, BBC, May 16th 2013.
Google paid £11.6 million in corporation tax last year, The Guardian, September 30 2013.
France will not tolerate tax avoidance, says Francois Hollande, The Telegraph, February 6 2014.