Google's 'Alphabet Soup' in Delaware
31 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2016 Last revised: 29 Apr 2016
Date Written: February 18, 2016
In this article the tax avoidance planning of Google’s “Alphabet” Delaware reorganization is explored in detail. The recent Google reorganization created an IP parent holding company in Delaware (“Alphabet”) yielding potential state corporate income tax avoidance benefits, including: (1) incremental royalty expense deductions in non-combined reporting states; (2) potential exclusion of foreign royalty income from the tax base in combined reporting states; (3) creation of a constitutional challenge to the taxation of foreign royalty income of Alphabet; and (4) domestic IP license benchmark for foreign affiliates to allow for repatriation of offshore cash by higher royalty payments. The article suggests that U.S. states are not obliged to follow a formalistic method of legal interpretation of tax transactions that lack economic substance (i.e., to recognize the Alphabet reorganization), and further addresses Google’s corporate slogan “don’t be evil” in light of its aggressive federal and state tax avoidance behavior.
JEL Classification: K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation