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Australian Govt Pledges Action On Google Tax Evasion

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  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday November 23, 2012 @06:19AM (#42072303)

    have they actually been charged with tax evasion?

    TFA doesn't mention evasion(not paying the tax you owe and illegal) and it's very different to avoidance which is just using legal means to pay as little tax as you legally can.

    • Actually, you are wrong. Companies freely admit that they sail as close to the legal wind as possible. Whether they are over the line or not depends on a case coming to court. Avoidance is merely evasion that has not yet been shown to be illegal.
      • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday November 23, 2012 @06:52AM (#42072475)

        lots of forms of tax avoidance have gone to court and been declared perfectly legal. so no, it's not a matter of "Yet"

        If you do your own taxes then whenever you do anything legal to keep your tax bill down then you're avoiding taxes.
        Ever put your money into a government saving scheme to which DIRT isn't applied? tax avoidance.

        and sometimes the lawyers are wrong, they've missed a comma in the law or the judge decides that some interpretation of the law isn't correct.

        • by Xest (935314) on Friday November 23, 2012 @07:42AM (#42072723)

          It doesn't matter either way. Here in the UK for example the government has a corporate tax rate of something like 21%, yet Amazon paid no corporation tax on £7bn worth of sales.

          It doesn't matter how they managed to do it, the point is the intention is clearly that they pay 21% of that in tax so the government has every right to collect that from them retroactively even if it means they technically did nothing wrong at the time.

          As Ian Hislop put it on have I got news for you a few weeks ago he was spot on, stating something along the lines of:

          "Okay yes, very funny, you're very clever, you found a loophole, now just pay us what you owe" ...and that's the attitude governments are now taking over this, quite rightly too. Nice to see Australia following France's lead, hopefully the UK and others will also join in now where this has come to light. You can't justify a situation where small businesses and most citizens pay the taxes it's intended that they pay and larger companies and individuals with more money don't because they have enough money to pay people to find loopholes.

          People and companies can disagree with taxes and that's fine, but if you think they're extortionate then get them changed through political means, don't evade them and leave everyone else to foot the bill and subsidise your existence because you're too selfish to contribute your fair share to society.

          Yes, yes, I know these tax dodger companies claim they still produce tax in other ways, like VAT paid, employees taxes and so forth, but they're still subsidised. The amount they pay isn't enough to cover healthcare to keep their workers healthy enough to work, the education system the rest of us paid for to give them an educated workforce to even make money in the first place, the highways they use to transport their products, the police, military, and fire brigade to protect their premises and so forth. That's why corporation tax is there in the first place - to help pay for this sort of thing. If they don't pay it perhaps the alternative is to remove services like police protection from them or something and let people steal from them at will making it a fair playing field.

          • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday November 23, 2012 @08:04AM (#42072823)

            You still don't seem to understand the difference between "evade" and "avoid"

            so, the government starts a saving scheme to encourage people to save.

            they offer to not charge you tax on the interest on money you save. the rate is a little worse than other saving accounts but you go with that one since without the tax you make a little more interest.

            then a few years later some self righteous clown comes along and says to you "very funny, you're very clever, you found a loophole, now just pay us what you owe" and gives you a bill for 5 years back taxes on the account along with interest and penalties as if they'd never offered the origional deal.

            is that remotely fair?

            or the government wants to encourage the building of low income housing. so they offer to only charge a lower rate of tax or no tax. you invest your money into building low income houses.

            then a few years later some self righteous clown comes along and says to you "very funny, you're very clever, you found a loophole, now just pay us what you owe" and gives you a bill for 5 years back taxes on the account along with interest and penalties as if they'd never offered the origional deal.

            is that remotely fair?

            You're morally obliged to pay every penny of tax you owe but not a penny more.

            you don't want rule of law, you want an autocracy where even if you follow the law to the letter someone can swoop in and punish you or declare that you owe them money.

            • by Custard Horse (1527495) on Friday November 23, 2012 @08:20AM (#42072881)

              Quite right.

              Where there is an flaw in tax law, it will eventually be written out and that loophole closed. Google has avoided tax thus far but now is the time to pay up and for that to occur the law needs to be changed.

              Of course, Google isn't the only entity using such tactics - it is the extent of the avoidance that is causing uproar. Every multinational company will have similar tax plans in place (or their accountants atrn't doing their jobs properly) and they will all be concerned about any tax developments.

              Remember, it's not a Google Tax people want, it is a prevention of tax avoidance which might affect the decision of of large companies to move into or out of the countries where they have a physical presence. Catastrophic financial consequences may well occur.

              Revision of tax law is not the work of a moment...

              • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday November 23, 2012 @08:57AM (#42073101) Homepage Journal

                Where there is an flaw in tax law, it will eventually be written out and that loophole closed

                I can't speak for Australia, but here in the USA, corporate interests bought those laws, and therefore the features that permit them to dodge taxes are not flaws, they are the system working as designed. Therefore, they will not "eventually" be written out in order to close the loopholes, because the people writing the laws are keeping them open. Even if you should close a loophole, not only will another be opened, but the same one will be reopened later.

                Every multinational company will have similar tax plans in place (or their accountants atrn't doing their jobs properly) and they will all be concerned about any tax developments.

                I'm sure their lawyers are rubbing their "hands" (or pedipalps or whatever you call lawyers' forelimbs, I haven't kept up with analzoology) together with glee even as we type.

                Revision of tax law is not the work of a moment...

                No, it takes decades to really and truly corrupt a body of law.

                I really don't know what things are like in Australia but since they learned most of what they know from the same teacher we did, only earlier, I imagine that law is pretty well and rightly fucked there as well.

                • So, I take it you are in favor of the Flat Tax?
                  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday November 23, 2012 @09:17AM (#42073225) Homepage Journal

                    So, I take it you are in favor of the Flat Tax?

                    No, because I am in favor of a fair tax. And that is a simple progressive tax only assessed to people making more than enough to survive upon. A flat tax is a regressive tax because the poor spend more of their income on taxes on necessities, and necessities ought not to be taxed. Any government which cannot provide more than the minimum to its citizenry deserves to fail and get out of the way of one which can. The road to fair taxation involves simplification, but not writing it in crayon.

                    • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday November 23, 2012 @09:38AM (#42073351)
                      You are apparently unaware that most versions of the Flat Tax propose that there be a single deduction for each taxpayer that would be set at some level based on the Poverty Line. So, one could calculate how much it costs to provide the "necessities" and set the deductions some amount above that, thus making it so that people do not pay taxes on necessities. This would be a fair tax and would in all probability result in the wealthy paying more than they do now, since there would be no additional deductions for them to use to reduce their taxable income so that they do not actually owe that high marginal tax rate that everyone is so anxious to see passed.
            • so, the government starts a saving scheme to encourage people to save.

              they offer to not charge you tax on the interest on money you save. the rate is a little worse than other saving accounts but you go with that one since without the tax you make a little more interest.

              then a few years later some self righteous clown comes along and says to you "very funny, you're very clever, you found a loophole, now just pay us what you owe" and gives you a bill for 5 years back taxes on the account along with interest and penalties as if they'd never offered the original deal.

              is that remotely fair?

              Of course not. It's also irrelevant, as it's a concrete invite by the government. Also, that money doesn't leave the national economy. Not to mention the real-world amount of tax relief is tiny.

            • by dbIII (701233)

              is that remotely fair?

              Have you met a tax man that cares about that?
              Rule of law hits might makes right when the state's revenue is on the line.

              I think you've got confused here about what we want (a fair system) and what we observe (lots of adhoc patches on a system to get as much as easily possible). Also it's the Australian Tax Department, still clinging on like a terrier to Paul Hogan to try to get the money from "Crocodile Dundee" from 1986. That film made a fortune tax free due to the rules at the tim

            • If you can't tell the difference between technically legal and moral then you are likely well qualified to be a CFO.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Xest (935314)

              "You still don't seem to understand the difference between "evade" and "avoid""

              No, I fully understand it, I just also recognise it's being used as a poor excuse for avoiding intended taxes.

              "is that remotely fair?"

              No because that's not what we're talking about here is it? The example you cited is one where the government intended something be tax free, in the cases we're talking about the exact opposite is true - the government in the UK for example never intended that Amazon avoid paying the 21% corporation

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                When the government sets a rate of 21% corporation tax, it's pretty clear that the government intends that companies pay 21% corporation tax on their revenues.

                When the government passes a law allowing companies to deduct some expense from their profits before calculating their taxes it is pretty clear that the government does not intend for the company to pay taxes on that money. If the government truly intended for companies to pay 21% tax on their revenues they would not have written deductions into the tax law for companies to take. They would have just written the law saying that companies need to pay 21% of their revenues in taxes. However, since that is not

            • Your analogy suffers.

              The governments didn't offer these loopholes out of the blue, for the benefit of the companies. Instead, those companies have had professional tax dodgers searching for loopholes, and using one nation's tax laws to set up artificial loopholes in other nation's tax laws. Money, millions and billions of dollars at a time, are moved around the globe, to create the illusion that this branch of this particular company doesn't have money, or didn't generate revenue. All the revenue was gen

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              You still don't seem to understand the difference between "evade" and "avoid"

              Time for a car analogy!

              If you are waiting to make a right turn and the light says no right on red and there's nobody coming and you drive through the dirt to the right of the light to avoid the light you're evading the light. But if you took a different route so that you wouldn't have to make that right turn at all (you took an earlier right) then you're avoiding the light.

              Unfortunately, this analogy too sucks, because they call it "avoidance of lights" when you evade a light, because lawyers aren't necessa

      • There's a practical difference (at least that's how it's defined in Switzerland - which is one of the possible tax avoidance place, although far less attractive than the ones in the summary).

        - One is *lying*, giving false information and not paying the taxes you're required by law to pay. You pretend you don't have money and try to hide it (in order not to pay taxes. But according to the law you should be paying taxes). This is illegal. A person or a company doing so should be persecuted.

        - The other is just

      • Unfortunately, you are correct.

        I want rich individuals to carry a proportionate share of the tax burden. If you only earn $10,000 this year, you pay about $3000 in taxes. If you earn FROM ANY SOURCE $10,000,000, then you get to pay 3,000,000.

        Ditto for corporations. Some of those tax dodges my not be "illegal", but they need to be made illegal, and very quickly.

        Granted, you probably cannot tax gross profits. That would be terribly unfair to a lot of companies, depending on how the business is run. But,

    • Good point. I'm sure that Google has enough money to ensure that its lawyers will have structured things legally, in which case it's avoidance. Governments, however, and especially the French one, are very good at leaning on people when they think they can screw some cash out of them.

      • by daem0n1x (748565)
        Paying taxes is "getting cash screwed out of you"? How can you administer a country with no revenues? Using unicorn farts?
    • No they haven't been charged with tax evasion. However, as the Australian Taxation Office has seen claims of AU$1b in payments including GST to Google through the quarterly business activity statements that every registered business has to make, there is a very large discrepancy in how much Google are paying taxwise and how much they are earning in Australia. Whilst legally they are financially providing the services from Ireland at the moment and physically providing them in Australia, these measures are b
      • by ccguy (1116865) on Friday November 23, 2012 @06:41AM (#42072413) Homepage

        No they haven't been charged with tax evasion. However, as the Australian Taxation Office has seen claims of AU$1b in payments including GST to Google through the quarterly business activity statements that every registered business has to make, there is a very large discrepancy in how much Google are paying taxwise and how much they are earning in Australia.

        Well, the thing is - you can easily put your earnings in any country you want. For example, here's what Apple does for Spain: Apple Ireland sells (all) devices to Apple Spain (however its legal form is) pretty much at the same price the devices are sold to consumers. Therefore Apple Spain makes no profit - in fact it can easily be at a loss they since have to pay to employees, leases and so on. All the profit is legally produced in Ireland where the taxes are a lot lower.
        Problem here is that the European Union doesn't really want to fix it. If they wanted to, the problem would be solved rather quickly.
        Ireland (and a few others) are just parasite states - their tax system is based on 'let's have foreign companies here by lowering their taxes a lot' even if they just means they're fucking the European partners which whom they share a market and a lot of other things. The day there's an unified tax law over Europe these problems will cease to exist.

        • Just because they can do that, doesn't make it right, especially when the services are provided in Australia (such as advertising on Google's sites, delivered via Google's equipment in Australia, as one example of many), and it's only the billing which is handled in Ireland, which it most definitely is in the case with Google. I'm not a mathematical genius, but the standard company tax rate in Australia is 30% - and when the ATO can see $1 billion of declared payments (including GST) to Google, and then a t
          • then they need to rewrite their tax law to prevent such things.

            that doesn't mean that what's happening now is actually illegal.

            • ... which is exactly the point of TFA! ;)
              • no, TFA seemed focused on trying to demonise the company in question.

                the problem isn't that companies take the best deal they can get. the problem is that they get offered deals which are too good by governments.

          • by ccguy (1116865)

            Just because they can do that, doesn't make it right, .

            It it isn't right it should be made illegal, period. Don't blame companies for trying to minimize their taxes, we all do that using whatever legal means (deductions, etc) are made available to us.
            Plus of course a US company probably doesn't care much about the effects of paying less taxes in Australia. Hell, all these IT companies are based on a state with brownouts due to financial stress :-)

            • by dbIII (701233)

              Don't blame companies for trying to minimize their taxes

              Why not? They are using some local resources funded by others that do pay their taxes, and they are using those taxpayer provided resources as an aid to making money. It is precisely the same situation as the rich guy that never puts much in the church plate even after he's had his wedding in the church.
              For example, the cost of employing people in Australia is relatively cheap because most health care comes out of general taxation instead of having t

          • Then your problem is with the members of parliament who wrote the tax laws that allow Google to do this, not with Google for taking advantage of those laws.
        • by Joce640k (829181)

          The day there's an unified tax law over Europe some non-European company will step up to replace Ireland.

          • by Kergan (780543)

            The day there's an unified tax law over Europe some non-European company will step up to replace Ireland.

            Unlikely. They could tax capital before it enters or leaves the EU. They cannot do so between EU countries.

          • by ccguy (1116865) on Friday November 23, 2012 @07:15AM (#42072583) Homepage

            The day there's an unified tax law over Europe some non-European company will step up to replace Ireland.

            That's fine. But there will be import taxes and duties, same as with anything that comes from say, China.

            The problem here is that Ireland is distorting tax income in other European Union countries and these countries can't do anything about it.

            Say you pay now a 30% income tax. I -legally- offer you to pay just 10% over here (but you still live wherever you are, and use the infrastructures and services over there). Do you take the offer or not? If you do, then you pay 1/3 of the taxes you should pay, you still get all the benefits (at someone else's expense), and I get 1/3 of your taxes for nothing.

            That's what Ireland is doing.

        • Ireland is still recovering to mid nineteenth century population levels courtesy of one of its "European partners". Its a country that needs every advantage it can get, and as a result of its policies around 20-25% of the workforce gains employment through foreign direct investment or its subsidiary industries. Maybe Spain with its massive unemployment should start looking at its own house before criticising others?

          • by ccguy (1116865)

            Maybe Spain with its massive unemployment should start looking at its own house before criticising others?

            No, why? Ireland is a partner of Spain, and their tax policy is extremely hurtful to all (and all other European taxes). And not only it's hurtful, it's plain stupid because it's not even Irish companies that are saving money - it's mostly American.

            And of course those companies are setting there just offices, that they take elsewhere as soon as it's convenient. It's not the kind of investment you want to bet on, knowing that once they're there they won't leave.

            As for the massive unemployment over here,

            • No, why? Ireland is a partner of Spain, and their tax policy is extremely hurtful to all (and all other European taxes). And not only it's hurtful, it's plain stupid because it's not even Irish companies that are saving money - it's mostly American.

              Did you miss the part where FDI creates large amounts of skilled employment in Ireland? All of those workers pay taxes too.

              And of course those companies are setting there just offices, that they take elsewhere as soon as it's convenient. It's not the kind of investment you want to bet on, knowing that once they're there they won't leave.

              http://www.williamfry.ie/Libraries/test/Maintaining-the-_12_5-Corporation-Tax-Rate-on-Irish-Trading-Profits.sflb.ashx [williamfry.ie]
              "Since 1 January 2003, corporate income has been characterised into two distinct streams: trading or active
              income which is taxed at the 12.5% corporation tax rate and non-trading or passive income which is taxed
              at the 25% corporation tax rate. Since that date, the distin

              • by ccguy (1116865)

                Did you miss the part where FDI creates large amounts of skilled employment in Ireland? All of those workers pay taxes too.

                So? We're discussing corporate taxes here. Of course workers pay taxes. They would pay them anywhere in the Union.

                Oh yeah, its not like Spain's poor economic performance threatens the very existence of the Eurozone or anything.

                Well, you need to see why our debt could affect other countries. All this crap began with banks lending money to people who wouldn't pay them. But these (Spanish) banks took the money from other banks (mostly German it seems) which would now have a serious problem if we didn't pay.

                Our (very corrupt) gov. wants to take European money (the famous bail out) to give it to the banks so they don't

                • So? We're discussing corporate taxes here.

                  Hey you were the one claiming it was a stupid policy. All those Irish people with jobs would disagree with you.

                  Well, you need to see why our debt could affect other countries. All this crap began with banks lending money to people who wouldn't pay them. But these (Spanish) banks took the money from other banks (mostly German it seems) which would now have a serious problem if we didn't pay.

                  Our (very corrupt) gov. wants to take European money (the famous bail out) to give it to the banks so they don't default. So they're converting private debt into public debt, rather than tell banks to fuck themselves since they accepted a risk when loaning money. But no, rather than take the hit instantly they prefer to keep the ball rolling and making the problem a lot worse by taking more and more money.

                  Gosh, sounds exactly like what happened in Ireland. The main difference is the Spanish 'bailout' would probably bankrupt the EU.

                  How is Ireland successful?

                  In attracting FDI, are we having the same conversation here. Take the time to read and understand what's being said before tackling your keyboard.

                  We don't that I know of. But if we did, I'd be saying the exact same thing. I have nothing against the Irish themselves, just against their tax policies and the fact that we don't have any way to counteract them.

                  By "counteracting them" you'd be doing quite a lot of damage to the Irish economy. So much for parternship eh? Good thing the I

                  • by ccguy (1116865)

                    In attracting FDI, are we having the same conversation here. Take the time to read and understand what's being said before tackling your keyboard.

                    In general - if you want to have any serious conversation, try not being disrespectful to the person you are conversating with. Just a matter of politeness. Thanks.

          • Ireland is still recovering to mid nineteenth century population levels courtesy of one of its "European partners".

            I don't know why you put those European partners between quotes as they are good enough to pay billions to bail out ireland...

            That is what bothers me as a European , Ireland undermines a lot of countries by setting up a tax haven which is very damaging for our economies. Seeing that they needed to be bailed out , it is afe to say that even the irish people have a lot of benefits of the si
            • Perhaps you should educate yourself a little first then. This "bailout" was a loan with a higher interest rate than neccessary, not a gift, these "partners" are doing quite well out of their largesse, although thanks for equating a loan to human lives.

              Secondly the government that decided to make private debts public was subsequently buried in the general election, indicating what the Irish people thought of putting them in a position where a bailout was needed. Just in case that wasn't clear, these were pri

    • There's been a lot on this in the UK news. Yes, they are avoiding rather than evading but to take Starbucks as an example, in the UK, when asked by the government, stated that they paid GBP8.6m in total UK tax over 13 years during which it recorded sales of GBP3.1bn. At the same time, they told investors the UK had been a successful venture for them. Ermm...

      Google's filings show it had GBP2.5bn of UK sales last year, but despite having a group-wide profit margin of 33%, its main UK unit had a tax charge o
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by HungryHobo (1314109)

        sure. it's as immoral as when you avoid tax yourself.

        If you put money into a government saving scheme to encourage saving where the government doesn't charge tax on the interest then you're avoiding tax.

        if you're a sole trader and you buy things for the company(expense) when taxes are high rather than leaving it as profit and taking that money out to spend on shoes then you're avoiding tax.

        most of the "loopholes" are intentional. they're there to encourage people to put money into things the government want

        • If you put money into a government saving scheme to encourage saving where the government doesn't charge tax on the interest then you're avoiding tax.

          Thats true, but ISAs and Pensions tax relief is a benefit to the government/country

          The whole point of tax relief on ISA and Pensions is to encourage long term savings by individuals in the expectation of reducing the likely hood of needing government support in the medium to long term.The ISA's and Pensions are specifically enabled by law makers as they see

          • And many of the "loopholes" are there for the same reason.
            they're there to encourage some behaviour the government wants to encourage.

            you can bet it didn't really shock them one bit and they knew damn well it was going on.

            there are countries where their tax authorities don't make it so easy.

            ever notice how it's only googles income outside the US which is funneled through ireland? that's because the IRS don't piss around nearly as much as they UK government when it comes to multinationals.

            • I agree, the loopholes are all there for a valid reason, it's the way they are being used by the companies that goes beyond the spirit of the law that I think had changed without being widely noticed until people found one tax avoider, looked at how it was being done, then noticed a few more companies doing the same thing.

              The scale of the avoidance has taken government by surprise. Thats not to say that there aren't individuals in government who have a good idea of tax avoidance of individual companies b
            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              And many of the "loopholes" are there for the same reason.
              they're there to encourage some behaviour the government wants to encourage.

              They're there to legitimize some behavior the corporations who wrote the legislation want to profit from, that is all. The corporations write the laws. In the US they ham-hand them to the politicians for rubberstamping. In other countries there may be more finesse.

    • According to UK tax law, there is tax evasion(outright breaking the law), tax avoidance(using legal loopholes) and tax reduction(using approved tax reduction schemes). Only Tax reduction is allowed.

      So even if Tax evasion is *technically* legal, HMRC (UK version of IRS) can and *will* nab you for contorting in thirty zillion angles just to avoid getting taxed.

    • So what? In any case tax avoidance is extremely anti-social. I will never understand why people/companies think it's okay to not contribute to a society from which the hugely benefit.

      The company benefits from roads, public infrastructure, the power grid, education of workers, social securities, environmental policies, police, fireworkers, the health system, democratic laws, public places and gardens, museums and many other cultural institutions, etc., etc., and they don't want to pay back? If they like them

    • Just like with other things, they use 'bad terms' to represent 'legal actions' to manipulate the public's opinion against the companies/people.

      And since people in general are stupid, it tends to work every time.

  • Why would you expect a company to pay more than they have to when individuals do not?
    • by xlsior (524145)
      Why would you expect a company to pay more than they have to when individuals do not?

      Most individuals don't funnel their money through foreign tax shelters.
      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        No, they funnel their money through domestic tax shelters.

        Pretty much any 'fringe benefit' you get at work is not counted as gross income and thus not taxable from the employees perspective. At the same time the cost of these fringe benefits is tax deductible by the employer.

        Drive a company car? You are avoiding payroll taxes by accepting a portion of your income as reduced personal costs.
        Use the companies daycare? You are avoiding payroll taxes by accepting a portion of your income as reduced persona
      • Most individuals can't funnel their money through foreign tax shelters.

        There.. fixed that for you.

    • Has anyone here ever paid more taxes than they owe

      Probably not. But while paying 75k out of a 1B revenue is probably/certainly legal... that shows there is a problem with nowadays local and international laws / rules. The problem is that most of our economy rules are based on a system designed long ago, from a time where a man in a company did matter.

    • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Friday November 23, 2012 @08:13AM (#42072855)

      "Tax avoidance" doesn't appear to phase General Electric. They're definitely not an "internet company," have physical plants around the globe, and they pay a vanishingly small amount of corporate tax by using the same sort of schemes.

      Imagine that....large corporations with armies of lawyers using lobbying to help them skirt tax payments to ultimately benefit their shareholders. And I guess it helps to have friends in high places. Guess who is Barack Obama's "jobs czar?" That's right, Jeff Immelt...CEO of GE. In 2010 GE made a global profit of US$14.2 billion. US$5.1 billion of that was attributable to operations in the US. How much did GE pay in taxes to the US government you ask? Well, zero. They actually had the balls to claim a tax benefit (billed against future earnings) of US$3.2 billion.

      I'm all for companies being able to make a profit, but c'mon.

  • They don't need to be in every country in the world. If their taxes go up, they can just as well decide to pack up and leave.

    • by Issarlk (1429361)
      Leave a country that earn them 1 billion? I think that wouldn't be in their best interest, I think they'll manage to survive somehow even if they have to actually pay taxes.
      • Apparently you do not realize that Google could probably make most of that 1 billion even if they did not have a physical presence in Australia.
  • The point is whether Google issues invoices from the USA company or from the natcos. In the former case, it's OK they don't pay tax to other nations' governments. In the latter Google has been evading the tax.
  • by hughbar (579555) on Friday November 23, 2012 @08:23AM (#42072891) Homepage
    Actually, there's a very sensible approach to this, somewhat started in the UK already. We, as citizens, decide that we dislike this kind of behaviour and we boycott the worst 'offenders'. As an old-skool Brit, I'm a tea drinker anyway, there's nothing that I like in Starbucks and I dislike the appalling value for money too.

    There's a genuine problem here in that a) it's their fiduciary duty of corporations to maximise profit at all costs, to hell with social infrastructure, the environment and other minor details so this is one of the results b) in the UK the so-called Tax Code runs to about 10K pages of useless complexity, so there's always a decent sized hole somewhere c) If the holes aren't closed everywhere, there'll usually be a new opportunity or place to do this, it's called fiscal dumping.

    Finally some socially aware sharefolder activism would help, in some of these cases, but since shareholders are usually large investment funds and insurance companies, there's no pressure from there either. So consumer boycott and sustained negative commentary is a good start, then profits decrease and shareholders begin to wake up and take a mild interest.

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