Google's search for tax haven saves company £2bn in tax

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The Independent Online

Type 'Bermuda Tax' into Google and the search engine's hi-tech algorithm completes the thought with a number of suggestions, including: 'Haven.' We can only speculate whether or not function would receive the approval of the company's battery of lawyers and accountants after it was claimed that Google had shifted nearly $10bn of revenues to a shell company based in the picturesque British Overseas Territory, and thus avoided around $2bn in worldwide income taxes in 2011.

The internet giant, according to a Bloomberg analysis of a recent filing by a Google subsidiary in the Netherlands, cut its overall tax rate by almost half thanks to the move, which is entirely legal.

In all, it is reported to have shifted $9.8bn in revenues to the island territory that sits off the east coast of the US, across the continent from Google's headquarters in sunny California. Bermuda does not have corporate income tax levy.

The report is the latest account of how some of the tech-world's big hitters manage their tax affairs.

Last week, Reuters revealed how Amazon chanelled sales through a Luxembourg entity to cut its corporate tax bill. The arrangement is said to have denied European governments of "hundreds of millions of dollars" in revenues that the online shopping behemoth might otherwise have owed.

Reuters made the additional claim that, based on filing by more than two dozen Amazon arms in six countries, the business also avoided paying more tax at home in the US. Once again, there was no suggestion of any illegality.

The two companies could not immediately be reached for comment yesterday.