Google isn’t responsible for five years of back taxes in France.


Screenshot by Claudia Cruz/CNET

Google won a major victory in one of its many court battles when a Paris court dismissed a €1.11 billion ($1.27 billion) tax bill levied against the tech giant.

Paris’ administrative tribunal ruled Wednesday that Google’s advertising business doesn’t have a taxable presence in France, absolving it of responsibility for five years of back taxes for a period ending in 2010. The tax authority had accused Google of routing ad sales in the country through its Irish-based subsidiary.

Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment but told the Wall Street Journal that the ruling “has confirmed Google abides by French tax law and international standards,” adding, “We remain committed to France and the growth of its digital economy.”

The ruling is a victory amid a series of legal challenges Google has faced across Europe on concerns including taxes, competition and privacy.

Last month, the European Union slapped Google with a 2.42 billion euro ($2.72 billion) fine for favoring its own shopping services in its search results over those of rivals. The fine is the biggest antitrust penalty the EU has ever applied to a single company, exceeding the $1 billion fine handed to Intel in 2009.

The EU has also taken aim at Google for its Android operating system, expressing concern that consumers will automatically use Google’s built-in apps, rather than explore other options. The Competition Commission has also found the internet giant systematically abuses its dominance in search to promote its own shopping services.

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