Just how much money do tech companies shelter from taxes? Quite a lot, according to the Dutch. Newly published Netherlands regulatory filings show that Google shielded €15.9 billion (about $19.2 billion) in 2016 using the popular “Dutch Sandwich” tax trick, saving it about $3.7 billion in taxes. The maneuver involves shifting revenue from an Irish subsidiary to a Dutch firm with no staff, and promptly moving the funds to a Bermuda mailbox owned by another Ireland-listed company. And this practice isn’t slowing down — Google moved 7 percent more cash through this approach in 2016 than it did a year earlier.
How would you deal with the likelihood that robots and automation will likely lead to many people losing their jobs? For Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the answer is straightforward: tax the robots. In an interview with Quartz, Gates argues that taxing worker robots would offset job losses by funding training for positions where humans are still needed, such as child and senior care. It could even slow automation to a more manageable rate, if necessary.
The IRS filed suit in a San Francisco court Wednesday against Facebook to get information about the tech titan’s tax arrangement in Ireland. Specifically, the agency wants documents detailing whether the social giant sold rights to its Irish subsidiaries cheaply in order to avoid paying the US’ comparatively higher taxes.
It’s 2016: do you know where your refund is? No, not your 2015 refund, your 2012 refund. Nearly $1 billion in outstanding refunds remain unclaimed from 2012. That represents an estimated one million taxpayers who might have qualified for a refund but who did not file a federal income tax return for 2012.