Italy is demanding €200 million (£152 million) from Google in unpaid taxes, according to AFP.
The news service tweeted out the report on Thursday morning, citing an unnamed “judicial source.” It’s not clear how many years the amount covers.
It’s a figure that is likely to further inflame the row over the taxes owed by Google and other multinational tech companies.
The search giant recently settled a £130 million tax bill in UK. Chancellor George Osborne hailed the deal as a “major success,” but critics argue it amounts to a 3% tax rate.
Downing Street has distanced itself from Osborne’s comments, only calling it a “positive step” — and Boris Johnson, a fellow Conservative, labelled the amounts paid by tech companies in tax “derisory.”
There had previously been reports that Italy was more aggressively pursuing Google over taxes. On Wednesday, The Times reported that Google was due to pay €150 million (£114 million) to the Italian government, close to the British figure, despite having a smaller operation in the country. It would reportedly amount to 15% of the company’s €1 billion Italian revenues.
If AFP’s report is correct, the Italian government is after even more from Google — and if the company agrees to pay, it will pay more in Italy than Britain despite it being a smaller market.
France is also chasing Google up over back taxes — reportedly three times as much as it paid in Britain, despite making larger profits in the UK.
Google, which has its European headquarters in Ireland, insists it pays the proper amount of tax. In a letter to The Financial Times, Google VP of communications and public affairs Peter Barron says that the company pays “tax based on the value added by the economic activity of our staff here, at the current standard rate: 20 per cent.”
He added: “Governments make tax law, the tax authorities independently enforce the law, and Google complies with the law.”