WASHINGTON Feb 6 Google Inc, which
consumer groups have accused of trying to avoid payment of U.S.
taxes, plans to sue the Internal Revenue Service over a tax
audit, according to a federal securities filing.
The web search giant said it is appealing an IRS audit
related to 2003 and 2004, but that on one undescribed issue, it
plans to "litigate in court," said its annual filing with the
Securities and Exchange Commission, dated Jan. 29.
A company spokeswoman was not available for comment.
Groups such as Citizens for Tax Justice accuse Google of
using accounting gimmicks and paper transactions to shift
profits to tax havens to avoid U.S. tax.
Google also said its tax rate for the United States declined
in 2012, in part because of "proportionately more earnings
realized in countries that have lower statutory tax rates."
Its effective tax rate fell to 19.4 percent in 2012, from 21
percent in 2011, according to the filing.
The United States has the highest statutory corporate income
tax rate among its industrialized peers at 35 percent. Many
companies say this hurts their competitiveness.
The tax rate paid, however, is highly variable across
sectors, and tech companies in particular enjoy numerous options
for transferring profits offshore to tax havens to avert tax.
President Barack Obama and Republicans both back lowering
the corporate rate, though they differ on how to get there and
whether new revenue should be raised in the process.
Several European countries are taking an aggressive stance
on corporate tax avoidance, most notably the United Kingdom.