France angers Trump with 3% tax on large digital firms
14 July, 2019, 10:27 | Author: Wade Massey
The White House says the tariffs unfairly target American tech companies.
In fact, on Thursday (July 11th), French parliament had approved an additional 3 percent duties on revenues earned by digital service providers in France, however, the added levy would be applicable to the digital services with more than 25 million euros in revenues in France and 750 million euros worldwide.
Paris: The French government on Thursday lamented Washington's decision to open an investigation into its new tax regime for digital giants like Amazons and Google. Mr Boris Johnson, the man most likely to become the country's new prime minister by the end of this month, vows to hit the companies harder.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association on Wednesday applauded the US Trade Representative's move, saying the tax would retroactively require US internet giants operating in France to turn over a percentage of their revenues from the beginning of this year and violates global trade commitments.
France insists that the tax - likely to raise about €400m this year alone - does not seek to target just U.S. companies and will affect European and Asian firms as well. Chinese, German, Spanish and British firms are also affected, as well as the French online advertising firm Criteo.
"We've got to find a way of taxing the internet giants on their income, because at the moment it is simply unfair", Johnson said earlier this month, according to Reuters. This is a tax charge for the largest digital businesses - search engines, social media platforms and online marketplaces - with global revenues over £500m and United Kingdom revenues over £25m to reflect the revenue derived from their United Kingdom users.
The tax will be introduced in 2020 and will be €1.50 on economy-class tickets, both within France, and between other European Union countries.
On its own, a 3% tax such as France's would hardly dent the revenues of big tech companies. There was general agreement from most states except for Ireland, Sweden and Denmark who opposed the tax. "The United States is very concerned that the digital-services tax which is expected to pass the French Senate tomorrow unfairly targets American companies", Lighthizer said Wednesday.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) said in a statement "services covered are ones where US firms are global leaders".
"Between allies, we can, and we should, solve our differences without using threats", Bruno Le Maire said.
In Silicon Valley, US tech companies have responded as angrily as the US government, claiming that it could lead to double taxation. Currently, the companies pay almost no tax in countries where they have large sales like France.
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