Monday, December 10, 2012

Hey Googlers, at least Braeburn Capital is not in Bermuda

Remember my October post about Braeburn Capital, the Apple subsidiary that was created to take advantage of Nevada tax law? In that post, I noted that Tyler Durden thought that these tax loopholes would receive renewed attention once the Presidential election in the United States was over.

Well, the election is over, we're about to sequester ourselves over a fiscal cliff, and governments in...Europe are looking at...Google.

It seems that Apple isn't the only company avoiding taxes, and the United States isn't the only country that is losing out on tax revenue.

Robert Patton shared an article from Bloomberg:

Google Inc. (GOOG) avoided about $2 billion in worldwide income taxes in 2011 by shifting $9.8 billion in revenues into a Bermuda shell company, almost double the total from three years before, filings show.

Now I'll grant that $9.8 billion is not $117 billion, but we're still dealing with Sagan-like numbers here. And European governments aren't happy:

Last week, the European Union’s executive body, the European Commission, advised member states to create blacklists of tax havens and adopt anti-abuse rules. Tax evasion and avoidance, which cost the EU 1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) a year, are “scandalous” and “an attack on the fundamental principle of fairness,” Algirdas Semeta, the EC’s commissioner for taxation, said at a press conference in Brussels.

Of course this will be a nasty fight, since the governments want money to continue services, and the governments will claim that Google and Apple are throwing people on the street. The tech companies, on the other hand, want money to continue what they do, and the companies will claim that California and the European governments are throwing people on the street.

At the end of the day, do you trust your government to provide for you, or do you trust the tech companies to provide for you?

Some people don't trust either one of them.
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