Google to settle Italy €306m over tax evasion

People visit Google's booth at the GMIC in Beijing

Internet giant Google has agreed to pay Italy €306 million in taxes, ending a dispute that has dragged on for over a year, according to reports on Thursday. Tax officials said the settlement announced Thursday also launches a process to determine the tech company's proper taxation level in Italy going forward. A Google spokesman said the deal "resolved without disputes investigations relating to the period between 2002 and 2015".

However, a person familiar with the company's thinking said Google preferred to settle with Rome to bring to a close a controversy that has cast a negative light on the company in Italy.

The company worked out a similar deal with the United Kingdom over a year ago, paying £130 million to British tax authorities. Facebook didn't immediately reply to requests for comment. "We need firmer worldwide rules governing digital companies and better dialogue between countries where they operate".

Google was under investigation by the Guardia di Finanza (tax police) and the prosecutor for booking profits generated in the country in Ireland.

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The Commission a year ago accused Ireland of helping Apple to artificially lower its tax bill for two decades and ordered the government to claw back a record-breaking €13bn. The payment was made to cover unpaid taxes in the country from 2008 to 2013.

While changes to the tax system are at an early stage in Washington, some European policy makers worry that such repatriation would allow U.S. companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax in Europe, an accusation that tech industry officials reject.

Apple is also facing a tax probe in France, While Italy has reportedly started looking into Amazon's tax contributions.

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