Tech gi­ants to es­cape EU dig­i­tal tax plans

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Natasha Ber­nal

FRANCE and Ger­many have been crit­i­cised for propos­ing a “watered-down” ver­sion of an EU-wide dig­i­tal tax that would spare the likes of Ama­zon and Ap­ple.

They yes­ter­day sug­gested a 3pc levy on ad­ver­tis­ing sales in a bid to sal­vage a pro­posed EU tax on big dig­i­tal firms. The pro­posal is a com­pro­mise on a plan that would have hit some of the world’s largest tech com­pa­nies by tak­ing into ac­count ac­tiv­i­ties from data sales and on­line mar­ket­places.

The Franco-Ger­man solution will not cover these, which means com­pa­nies fo­cused on on­line ad­ver­tis­ing op­er­a­tions, such as Face­book and Google, will be af­fected, while Ama­zon and Ap­ple will be ex­cluded.

Smaller com­pa­nies could also suf­fer. Zoe Feller, part­ner at law firm Bird & Bird, said: “For all these big com­pa­nies, the amount of rev­enue it is likely to be cost­ing them is noth­ing and they are go­ing to pass the cost to the smaller com­pa­nies.”

Ger­many’s fi­nance min­is­ter Olaf Scholz said he was “quite op­ti­mistic” that the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and Devel­op­ment would agree on an in­ter­na­tional tax in 2020.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion yes­ter­day aban­doned its Christ­mas dead­line to agree a tax solution and called for mem­ber states to agree on an amended pro­posal be­fore the EU elec­tions in March.

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