Na­tions say tax laws hurt EU tech firms

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - — Bloomberg News

PARIS — France is work­ing with Ger­many and other part­ners to change laws that have al­lowed U.S. tech gi­ants Google, Ap­ple, Face­book and Ama­zon to min­i­mize taxes and grab mar­ket share in Europe at the ex­pense of the con­ti­nent’s own com­pa­nies. France will pro­pose the “sim­pler rules” for a “real tax­a­tion” of tech firms at a meet­ing of Euro­pean Union of­fi­cials due mid-Septem­ber in Tallinn, Es­to­nia, French Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bruno Le Maire said in an in­ter­view in his Paris of­fice on Fri­day, com­plain­ing that Europe-wide ini­tia­tives are prov­ing too slow. “Europe must learn to de­fend its eco­nomic in­ter­est much more firmly — China does it, the U.S. does it,” Le Maire said. “You can­not take the ben­e­fit of do­ing busi­ness in France or in Europe with­out pay­ing the taxes that other com­pa­nies — French or Euro­pean com­pa­nies — are pay­ing.” The push re­flects mount­ing frus­tra­tion among some gov­ern­ments, reg­u­la­tors and vot­ers at the way in­ter­na­tional firms side­step taxes by shift­ing prof­its and costs to wher­ever they are taxed most ad­van­ta­geously — ex­ploit­ing laws or spe­cial deals granted by friendly states. Ger­many and France dis­cussed tax is­sues at a joint Cab­i­net meet­ing last month, and Ger­many can be ex­pected to dis­cuss spe­cific pro­pos­als af­ter its na­tional elec­tion on Sept. 24, De­nis Kol­berg, a fi­nance min­istry spokesman, told re­porters in Ber­lin on Mon­day.

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