France Economy Minister, Bruno Le Maire, on Thursday, said that if the 28 member states of the European Union fail to establish an EU-wide revenue tax on major internet companies by March, France will set up its own.
Mr Le-Maire said “the digital giants are the ones who have the money, major internet firms make considerable profits, thanks to French consumers, thanks to the French market, and they pay 14 percentage points of tax less than other businesses, than small or medium business.”
The minister added that he had set a March deadline for the creation of European tax on digital giants.
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At a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday, France and Germany proposed a plan for online firms to pay a minimum 3-per-cent tax on advertising income.
The plan was put forward after Paris had failed to gain support for a more ambitious proposal for an EU-wide tax on the revenue of large digital firms.
“We will do it from 2019 at the national level, we will tax the digital giants if European countries don’t shoulder their responsibilities, which I would prefer,’’ Le Maire said.
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Several other EU countries have already launched national digital tax initiatives, prompting concerns that this could lead to a patchwork of national rules.
The European Commission has estimated that traditional companies typically pay around
23 per cent tax on profits, compared to between 8 and 9 per cent for internet firms, some of which pay little or no tax at all.