Google to pay €1bn to end French tax probe

Google will pay French authorities about 1 billion euros (£ 900 million) to complete a long-term tax investigation.

The settlement includes a fine of 500 million euros and additional taxes of 465 million euros, but less than the tax bill Google has accused of evasion.

The four-year investigation ended and authorities saw a raid on Google’s headquarters in Paris in 2016.

Investigators said Google owed about 1.6 billion euros in unpaid taxes amid a wider crackdown on corporate tax planning.

French authorities are trying to prove whether Google, headquartered in Dublin, has failed to advertise some of its activities in the country.

The search giant, part of Alphabet, pays little tax in most European countries because it advertises almost all its sales in Ireland.

It is able to do so thanks to a loophole in international tax law. However, this loophole hinges on staff in Dublin concluding all sales contracts.

Antonin Levy, one of the company’s lawyers, said the agreement allows Google to “resolve once for all these past disputes.”

In March, the European Union imposed a fine of 1.5 billion euros on Google for banning competing online search advertisers , and last year the European Commission lifted a fine of 4.3 billion euros against the company via its Android mobile operating system.