Faith-based and Socially Responsible Shareholders Call on Google to Pay Fair Share of Taxes
April 8th, 2014
The Missionary Oblates co-filed with ethical investor Domini Social Equity fund, in a shareholder resolution calling on the multinational firm Google to pay its fair share of US taxes. NEI Investments LP, Robert Burnett, and Investor Voice, SPC joined as co-filers. Google recommended a vote against the shareholder proposal, which argues that “Google’s tax practices have come under scrutiny in the United Kingdom and France, leading to regulatory pressures and reputational damage.” The shareholder proposal cited as one of its arguments for the proposal, a Bloomberg article headed “Google cuts billions off its tax bill each year by sending profits through Ireland to a mailbox in Bermuda.”
The proposal stated, “Although most Google engineers are US-based, where much of product development takes place, Google’s intellectual property is held in Bermuda, which does not levy corporate taxes.” It went on to state: ‘Tax haven’ jurisdictions are characterized by low tax rates, financial secrecy and light regulation. Tax havens facilitate financial opacity and illegal activities including tax evasion and money laundering.”
The proposal has received coverage in The Sunday Times in London and the Independent.ie an Irish news source. Although it is not expected to pass, the proposal will once again attract attention to Google’s low tax outlay against multibillion revenues.