Google moved €19.9 billion (R324bn) through a Dutch shell company to Bermuda in 2017, as part of an arrangement that allows it to reduce its foreign tax bill. File Photo: IOL

AMSTERDAM – Google moved €19.9 billion (R324bn) through a Dutch shell company to Bermuda in 2017, as part of an arrangement that allows it to reduce its foreign tax bill, according to documents filed at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

The amount channelled through Google Netherlands Holdings was around €4bn more than in 2016, the documents, filed on December 21, showed.

Google did not immediately respond to an email and a phone call seeking comment.

The subsidiary in the Netherlands is used to shift revenue from royalties earned outside the United States to Google Ireland Holdings, an affiliate based in Bermuda, where companies pay no income tax.

The tax strategy, known as the "Double Irish, Dutch Sandwich", is legal and allows Alphabet-owned Google to avoid triggering US income taxes or European withholding taxes on the funds, which represent the bulk of its overseas profits.

However, under pressure from the EU and the US, Ireland in 2014 decided to phase out the arrangement, ending Google's tax advantages in 2020.

Google Netherlands Holdings paid €3.4 million in taxes in the Netherlands in 2017, the documents showed, on a gross profit of €13.6m.

Reuters