NL – Over a period of eight years, internet giant Google funneled 128 billion euros through a Dutch subsidiary to tax haven Bermuda. This yielded over 25 million euros to the Dutch Tax Authority in the period between 2012 and 2019, NOS reports based on annual reports of the Dutch subsidiary – Google Netherlands Holdings B.V. – and figures from the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.
Google stopped this tax construction last year, according to the last published annual report of Google Netherlands. The internet giant told the broadcaster that the money was returned to the United States, where Google’s headquarters are, and that the company paid taxes on it.
The tax construction was used to move royalties, fees for using Google’s intellectual property, via a subsidiary in Ireland and one in Singapore to the Netherlands. The Dutch subsidiary then transferred the money to a company in Bermuda. Due to flexible legislation and the Netherlands’ extensive treaty network, Google did not have to pay tax on the royalties that entered and left the Netherlands. And Bermuda does not levy any tax.
Because Google left a few million euros in the Netherlands every year, the company had to pay profit tax in the Netherlands. All in all, this amounted to over 25 million euros between 2012 and 2019. This brought the tax on the entire amount of 128 billion euros funneled through the Netherlands to 0.02 percent, according to NOS’ calculations.
Google’s royalties structure existed since 2004, but it is unclear whether the company funneled money through the Netherlands since the start. The Dutch Chamber of Commerce only has figures from 2012.
If Google hadn’t funneled that over 128 billion euros to Bermuda, and the money went straight to the United States, the company would have had to pay a maximum of 38 billion euros in taxes in the US, NOS calculated based on the tax rates that applied in the country at the time.
Google told NOS in a response that its calculations are based on a “fictional scenario”. The company said it effectively paid more than 21 percent in taxes worldwide in the past decade, 80 percent of which was paid in the US. According to the broadcaster, the company would not say exactly how much tax it paid on the 128 billion euros that went to Bermuda through the Netherlands.