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France to introduce 5% digital tax

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Staff Writer | Monday March 4, 2019 5:46AM ET
Bruno Le Maire
Europe   Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire

France intends to tax the revenue of about 30 internet giants, such as Amazon, to help ensure “fiscal justice,” according to the country’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.


A 3-5% tax on the French revenue of large internet companies could yield France €500m per year, Mr Le Maire said yesterday. He said the tax is aimed at companies with worldwide digital revenue of at least €750m and French revenue of more than €25m.

He said the tax would target mostly American companies, but also Chinese, German, Spanish, and British, as well as one French firm and several firms with French origins that have been bought by foreign companies.

Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple are set to be targeted, but also Uber, Airbnb, Booking.com, and French online advertising specialist Criteo. Mr Le Maire said there was no risk of the new measure clashing with a tax agreement between France and the US. He discussed the plan with Steven Mnuchin during the US treasury secretary’s stop in Paris late last month.

“A taxation system for the 21st century has to built on what has value today, and that is data,” Mr Le Maire said.

He added it is also a matter of fiscal justice, as the digital giants pay some 14 percentage points less tax than European SMEs.

 

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