PARIS — Google has been asked to pay 1.6 billion Euros ($1.76 billion) in back taxes to the French government.
The claim stemmed from a Reuters report that cited a unanimous source at the Ministry of Finance.
Earlier this month, France’s finance minister Michel Sapin said Google would not get away with a deal, as it did in the U.K., and argued that Gallic authorities would not negotiate the amount of tax due with the U.S. Internet giant. Sapin added that the back taxes Google must pay in Gaul are “far superior” to that in the U.K.
In late January, Google managed to strike a settlement of £130 million with British authorities, which covered back taxes for the last 10 years. The deal was deemed disproportionally small by a wide range of high-level British figures.
France’s assessment of $1.7 billion is believed to be preliminary, which would leave Google the option to challenge it in court.
Google has been on the radar of French authorities for over five years. Back in 2011, its Paris office was raided by tax officers as part of an investigation on the company’s transfer pricing assessments between the French division of Google and its holding in Ireland.