Google keeping cash away
Google has paid more Australian tax than previous years, but still exploits a Singapore loophole.
Google Australia's latest financial accounts shows it paid almost $100 million in tax in 2019 - far higher than previous years – but it has also continued its long-standing practice of counting revenue in low-tax Singapore.
Google did not locally count $4.8 billion in gross revenue, mostly from advertising, booking offshore instead in Singapore, under “Google Asia Pacific”.
“The group recorded $4.8 billion (2018: $4.2 billion) in gross revenue in 2019, of which $4.3 billion (2018: $3.7 billion) relates to advertising and other reseller revenue,” its financial accounts said.
The Federal Government has a plan to raise $US100 billion ($155 billion) by more aggressively taxing digital giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon.
The plan has seen a number of multinationals restructure their tax affairs to pay more tax locally, but they have not been able to stop the legal practice of channelling millions in advertising revenue via low-tax countries such as Singapore.
The OECD, together with the G20, has been working on a plan to tax digital companies, but the efforts have been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and now may take years before governments get around to implementing a solution.