SEOUL, Dec. 12 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s tax agency launched an investigation into a local office of U.S. tech giant Google Inc. amid rumors of tax evasion by some YouTubers here, industry sources said Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, the National Tax Service (NTS) sent auditors and investigators to the headquarters of Google Korea in Gangnam, southern Seoul, to secure accounting books and other financial records, they said.
Industry watchers suspect that some famous high-income YouTubers evaded taxes by not fully reporting their earned income. Google currently owns the global video streaming service YouTube.
In October, NTS Commissioner Han Sung-hee hinted at a possible tax probe into such YouTubers during a parliamentary hearing.
Also, criticism rose that global tech giants, including Google and Facebook Inc., have not properly paid their taxes to local authorities while generating massive profits every year.
Google is estimated to have recorded sales of nearly 4.9 trillion won (US$4.6 billion) in South Korea last year, according to Lee Tae-hee, a professor of business administration at Kookmin University. The figures are based on an annual earnings report by Alphabet Inc., Google’s holding company.
Google declined to comment on the alleged probe.