EU tax on big digital companies could be struck by March

Keiligh Baker's picture
by Keiligh Baker

A European Union-wide tax on the world’s top digital companies could be reached by the end of March.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire made the announcement in an interview published on Sunday.

“We made a compromise offer to Germany in December and I am convinced that a deal is within arm’s reach between now and the end of March," he said. "With the European elections just a few months away, our citizens would find it incomprehensible if we gave up on this,” Le Maire told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

In December, European Union finance ministers failed to agree a tax on digital revenues, despite a last minute Franco-German plan to salvage the proposal by narrowing its focus to companies such as Google and Facebook.

The UK has already struck out on its own in order to tax the tech giants after the EU-wide approach was delayed.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is also working to establish an agreed international approach to the taxation of international tech companies.

The UK has already announced the introduction of a digital tax on online companies with revenues of over £500m.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said in his autumn budget speech that it was time for tech companies to pay their “fair share” and that the digital tax would raise £400m a year upon its introduction in April 2020.

Facebook’s accounts show that it incurred net corporation tax of just £7.4m in the UK last year, less than one per cent of its UK sales of £1.3bn.

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