Google Is Still Paying Barely Any Taxes on Its Billions in Revenue

Google generated $22 billion in revenue from its Irish subsidiary. Guess what amount it paid in taxes on that revenue. Guess again, because it's even lower.

Dublin-based Google Ireland Ltd., which the California-headquartered company uses to largely avoid paying American taxes, just reported revenues of $22 billion from last year, the Irish Times says. On that large sum, Quartz points out, the company paid only around $36 million—which amounts to 0.17 percent of revenue. That's slightly over a third of what Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt recently took home as a salary bonus.

It's all legal, if you examine the letter of the law through such a powerful microscope that you can only see maybe a tiny piece of the T in TAX:

Google Ireland sends the money to Google Netherlands Holdings, which also receives cash from Google Singapore. The Netherlands has no "withholding tax," which is a compulsory pre-payment of tax similar to the bit lopped off your paycheck. That's the "Dutch sandwich." Google Netherlands sends all the booty to Google Ireland Holdings—a second company registered in Ireland but tax resident in Bermuda.

The system works (for Google, and Apple, and Twitter).


Note: A large portion of Gawker Media's taxable assets are located in a Cayman Islands shell company, a structure once described by The New Yorker as "long favored by insider dealers, drug cartels, hedge funds, and other entities with lots of cash they don't want to advertise."

Photo: AP