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Google Oz slips A$600 million through tax loophole

The old Irish jig

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The Sydney Morning Herald has popped another installment in its long-running game of pinging Google’s Australian tax liability as revealed in its financial statements.

In spite of Australian revenues estimated by experts like Frost & Sullivan to be more than A$700 million, the Chocolate Factory’s performance in Australia looks abysmal. It claimed an A$3 million loss in Australia for 2010 and paid A$1 million in tax on booked revenue of A$151 million.

The rest of advertising giant’s Australian invoices are paid not to Google Australia, which merely provides services to other divisions of the company, but Google Ireland. This repatriates revenues to a country with a lower corporate tax rate than Australia.

Most of the income booked in Australia is in the form of service payments from the US parent company and other subsidiaries. The fiddle revenue moves to Singapore soon, with Google to shift Australian AdWords customers to its Asia-Pacific subsidiary headquartered in that country. ®

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