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“You Pay,” Say Francais

A few months ago I reported on how Google stuck their middle finger up to the country of France and said “no pay, Francais.”

This no doubt annoyed the French who were probably rubbing their hands at the thought of getting some of that “Google cash.”

In the absence of a cheque from Google it seems that the French government set their sight on another target…Amazon, the online shopping giant.

Just like Google they have quite a bit of cash in the bank, so it makes sense that French officials would try and hit them up, so to speak.

To the tune of 200 million Euros, which the French government say is for back taxes during the years of 2006 to 2010. Amazon were making a nice bit of change in France during those years but the tax office in Paris saw barely anything. So they say anyway.

This isn’t the first time that Amazon have found themselves at the wrong end of the court room when it comes to the subject of tax in Europe.

Last year It was the turn of the Italians to go hunting for back taxes against the online commerce company, and after a lengthy dispute they finally got a postal order…for the sum of 100 million Euros. Nice money if you can get it, and it appears the Italian government got plenty of it.

So now it is the turn of the French, and although we are not sure exactly how much Amazon have paid in back taxes, it does seem they have come to a settlement.

“We have reached a settlement agreement with the French tax authorities on past issues and our main objective remains to provide the best possible buying experience for our clients in France,” said a spokesperson for Amazon when asked about the situation.

Why are Amazon constantly finding themselves locking horns with European nations anyway…surely they obey the law when it comes to paying tax? While I’m sure they are above board and doing everything legit, the area of contention is about when Amazon first started trading in many of these European countries.

At that time all of their money went directly to Luxembourg, which means countries such as France barely saw a penny.

Of course, legally paying less tax is something that all companies are concerned with, and is the reason why they hire accountants to do their books properly and make sure everything is accounted for.

It’s the same with hard working contractors in the UK. They want to pay less tax, yes, but they want to do it within the confines of the law. That is why contractor accountants are so popular, they make that happen without the need to do anything dodgy like offshore bank accounts.

So Amazon have backed down, and Francais have got their pay day. “Viva la France!”

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