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Google off the hook for $1.3 billion tax bill in France

Paris court rules the tech titan has no taxable presence in the country, relieving it of responsibility for five years of back taxes.

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Google isn't responsible for five years of back taxes in France.

Screenshot by Claudia Cruz/CNET

Google won a major victory in one of its many court battles when a Paris court dismissed a 1.11 billion euro ($1.27 billion) tax bill levied against the tech giant.

Paris' administrative tribunal ruled Wednesday that Google's advertising business doesn't have a taxable presence in France, absolving it of responsibility for five years of back taxes for a period ending in 2010. The tax authority had accused Google of routing ad sales in the country through its Ireland-based subsidiary.

The ruling "has confirmed Google abides by French tax law and international standards," Google said in a statement. "We remain committed to France and the growth of its digital economy."

France's budget minister said that the government would appeal the ruling.

The court's decision marks a victory amid a series of legal challenges Google has faced across Europe on concerns including taxes, competition and privacy.

Last month, the European Union slapped Google with a 2.42 billion euro ($2.72 billion) fine for favoring its own shopping services in its search results over those of rivals. The fine is the biggest antitrust penalty the EU has ever applied to a single company, exceeding the $1 billion fine handed to Intel in 2009.

The EU has also taken aim at Google for its Android operating system, expressing concern that consumers will automatically use Google's built-in apps rather than explore other options.

Originally published July 12 at 5:25 p.m. PT.
Updated July 13 at 7:48 a.m. PT:  Added reaction from France's government.

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