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Italian tax cops grease up probe: 'Google owes us €240m'

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Italian authorities have launched a new tax probe of Google in the country after an earlier investigation found the firm failed to declare income and still owed tax.

In a response from Italy's Finance Ministry to a question posed by MP Stefano Graziano in the country's parliament, the authorities said that the tax police in Milan had investigated Google Italy from 2007 and found that the firm was transferring its profits to Google Ireland so that it could pay less tax (translated by Google Translate).

The investigation of 2002 to 2006 found that Google hadn't declared at least €240m in profit and owed over €96m in taxes.

The tax authorities said that they had launched another probe on Monday to make sure that Google was living up to its tax obligations in the country.

Both Britain and France have also been looking into Google's tax arrangements with respect to its firm in Ireland, where tax rates are lower, and another company in Bermuda, a tax haven. Authorities in India and Australia are poking around in the company's taxes as well.

Google has maintained that it follows all tax laws, although it admitted that it was headquartered in Ireland because of the favourable tax rate.

When Google reiterated that it was acting perfectly legally during questioning from MPs in the UK, Labour MP Margaret Hodge said they weren't accusing the firm illegal behaviour, they were accusing Google of immoral behaviour. ®

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