Google has continued to route its sales from all UK advertisers through Ireland, despite efforts by the former UK chancellor George Osborne to crack down on multinational technology groups that “abused the trust of the British people”.
Other US tech companies that have made use of “double Irish” tax avoidance structures include Facebook, Microsoft and Apple.
Under pressure from politicians in several countries, Ireland agreed to start phasing out the tax benefits of such structures two years ago. However, Irish ministers have awarded generous “grandfathering rights”, which ensure Google and others are able to pour income into their offshore tax havens up until 2020.
In January 2016, UK tax inspectors reached a £130m tax settlement with Google over taxes stretching back ten years. Osborne initially heralded this as a major success; however, many others condemned it as too lenient.
Revenues at Google Ireland Limited were equivalent to one-third of the group’s global income in 2015.