The Google case : lack of VAT establishment in France

Google Ireland Limited (GIL) provides to French customers, in accordance with a contract signed with Google France (GF), advertising services via the research engine “AdWords”.

In its decision, the Administrative Court of Paris states that GF, considering the services provided, has no VAT permanent establishment in France as defined by the EU case law which makes VAT liability conditional to the existence of a structure capable of rendering services autonomously thanks to its human and technical means.    

In this case, the Court indeed considered, as regards the human means, that Google employees were not involved in the actual making of the sales with the French customers since they are not empowered to put online the advertising ordered by them. Moreover, the Court stated that GF had only, in France, equipment ancillary to the four main servers located in the USA.

An appeal has been lodged on September 11th, 2017 to the Court of Appeal of Paris.