It’s called “the Irish doublet”. This tax optimization strategy has enabled large multinationals to drastically reduce their corporate taxes by the end of 2020. Specifically, this was based on the creation of an additional business structure that made it possible to transfer part of the income generated in a country to a tax haven where the tax rate is very low or even zero.
According to The Irish Times, Google used this technique to shift € 63 billion in 2019 profits to Bermuda, a country with a 0% corporate tax rate. In detail, the company Montain View has its European headquarters in Dublin, known as Google Ireland LTD. It also owns Google Ireland Holding, which, as the name doesn’t suggest, is managed out of Bermuda. In particular, this unit controls the company’s intellectual property.
France has already introduced its GAFA tax
According to our colleagues, Google Ireland Holdings was able to avoid corporation tax in both Ireland and the US because of this Irish twin. However, this was the last year she was able to use this strategy. Indeed, it should be known that “the Irish doublet” was abolished in 2015 under pressure from European partners. However, companies were given a deadline of last year.
The tide seems to have turned for GAFA as well. Indeed, Joe Biden’s new administration is defending the idea of international taxation of large multinational corporations that should pay in every country in which they make a profit, and in a proportional manner. The project is currently still being discussed and affects the 135 member countries of the OECD. The debates promise to be lively, but we have seen in the past that when it comes to taxes, when it comes to taking a position on an issue, the United States often has the final say.
France is not left out on this issue, although its GAFa tax is limited to tech companies only. The first tax returns were sent out at the end of last year and concern companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.