Macron Aims to Force ‘Tax Justice’ on Facebook, Google and Apple
French lawmakers will start debating on Monday a tax meant to force Internet giants like [Amazon Inc.] and [Facebook Inc.] to pay a 3 percent levy on digital turnover.
Parliament will discuss the tax, which targets companies with 750 million euros ($842 million) in worldwide revenue and 25 million euros of French digital sales, over the next several weeks. The levy, described by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire as ensuring “fiscal justice”, is expected to become effective starting Jan. 1.
French President Emmanuel Macron got support from the European Union’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager, who has imposed major fines on companies including Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc. In an interview with France Inter on Monday, she said the best solution for taxing large Internet companies was to start in Europe.
“The best thing is a global solution, but if we want solutions in a reasonable time, then Europe must step forward,” said Vestager, who is in Paris and plans to meet with Macron’s chief of staff. “France is showing the way.”
Details on the proposed French tax:
> * The tax is due in April of each year, and is to be paid in two installments. In 2019, both installments will be due in late October, according to the bill.
> * The French government will tax online marketplaces, the sale of data for targeted advertising, and the sale of targeted online advertising.
> * The tax is to be pro-rated based on the number of users companies have in France, but there is no information about how this would be calculated.
> * Activities that won’t be taxed are direct e-commerce retailing, messaging or payment apps, and online advertising that doesn’t involve user data.
> * Companies will be allowed to offset the tax against French corporation tax.
> * The government said the tax will be an interim measure applied until a global consensus on taxing the digital economy is reached.
> * The measure is expected to bring in 500 million euros annually.
> * Lawmakers in Macron’s government are considering 3-year sunset clause.
This can be offset against French Corp tax, but presumably their argument is that Amazon, Google, facebook etc. are currently paying little in French Corp tax