Big tech companies that earn a lot and pay little (in taxes). Last, Google

Here we go again. The Revenue Agency is knocking on Google’s door again: one billion in unpaid taxes. So what? In 2017 there was an agreement, for 306 million euros. This time? The practice is always the same: Big Techs settle in countries where tax rates are more favorable (like in Ireland) and thus evade (evade) taxes in the states where they operate and invoice billions. Investigations begin and proceedings are triggered that almost always end with million-dollar agreements with the Tax Office.

Tax evasion by web giants (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Meta…) from 2019 to today has exceeded 50.7 billion euros and if you go back the billions become almost 100 (99.7 from 2014 to today). In Italy the main web companies in 2022 (the last year for which there are data) paid 162 million in taxes against a turnover of 9.3 billion.

Today it’s Google’s turn again. The tax authorities are accusing the US web giant, which for Europe is based in Ireland, of alleged tax evasion of around one billion euros. The accusation is not that it did not pay, but that it paid lower amounts than what was due by the Italian tax system. The last dispute between Google and the Italian tax authorities dates back to seven years ago. It ended with an agreement over 306 million euros to cover unpaid taxes on a turnover of around one billion euros between 2009 and 2013. The figure reached with the agreement also included amounts from the two-year period 2014-2015 and an old dispute from 2002-2006. So 306 million to settle everything from 2002 to 2013, nine years. Now we are at a new episode. The billion euros is “requested” based on the investigations of the Guardia di Finanza which ascertained the existence of “an immaterial permanent establishment” in Italy. This is what happened for Netflix in 2022. It was the first time that the “hidden permanent establishment” was recognized to a company without employees in the territory. Netflix paid 55.8 million euros for the failure to pay Ires and Irap taxes due during the five-year period 2015-2019 and peace was had. Now the same thing is happening with Google.

So it seems we are proceeding from agreement to agreement with Big Tech. In the last fourteen years the Italian Treasury has collected just over one and a half billion euros, thanks to the agreements made with the web giants who have evaded taxes. The last compromise was last December with Airbnb, which will pay Italy 576 million euros to cover the disputed 770 million in unpaid taxes between 2017 and 2021. The first agreement dates back to 2015. Apple at the end of disputed paid 318 million to the tax authorities for the evasion of almost one billion euros in the period 2008-2014. And in between? Amazon which in 2017 was challenged for a tax evasion approximately 130 million euros (for the years from 2011 to 2015) and closed the game by paying 100 million euros. The following year, in 2018, Facebook reached an agreement with the Italian tax authorities: 100 million euros to “forget” 300 million euros not paid. And a year ago the fiscal peace with Booking for 93.3 million euros for VAT due for the tax years 2013 to 2022.

And today Google. So we continue like this, with the policy of compromise agreements. Crumbs for state coffers. ALL ECONOMY NEWS