Google extends its 2% surcharge to ads served in India and Italy

The Regulatory Operating Cost will add 2% on top of all transactions for advertisers in these locations. But the surcharge may cause billing headaches for marketers.

Digital Services Tax

Google announced via email on Tuesday that it will add a “Regulatory Operating Cost” to all advertising bills in India and Italy. Advertisers can expect the charge to appear on invoices for Google Ads and some YouTube ads beginning October 1, 2021.

This isn’t the first time that Google has announced a surcharge on their Ads product. In November of 2020, the company started charging extra fees for advertisements served in the UK, Austria, and Turkey. These were followed by similar charges for France and Spain in May 2021. These fees are called digital services fees and regulatory operating costs, depending on the country. 

Watch your bill

According to the Jurisdiction-specific surcharge page on Google Ads Help, advertisers will need to carefully watch their payments to avoid overspending. Marketers can expect to see the charges on top of the price of the ads in these countries, and the charges are calculated at the end of the billing cycle. Advertisers who pay manually or prepay for their ads may see an open balance on the next month’s bill. The help article explains further:

For example, if you accumulate €5 of regulatory operating costs for ads served in Turkey, and you make a new payment for €100, you would have €95 credit towards displaying ads (€100 – €5), and your available balance would show €95.

Jurisdiction-specific surcharges via Google Ads Help

Watch your location settings

Some advertisers may accrue digital service taxes (DST) and regulatory operating costs, even if they don’t explicitly advertise in the affected countries. Google mentions that some ads may show to users if their business might be in a location of interest for those users. The Jurisdiction-specific surcharge page details how businesses can check their location settings and exclude these affected locations in their ad settings.

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Tamara Scott is a writer and content strategist based in Nashville. With a background in English education, she plans and writes clear, instructive content for marketers and technology users of all skill levels. Follow @t_scottie