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France to push 'Google tax' at EU level

Staff writer |
French plans for a "Google tax" on all digital companies would take the form of a minimum levy calculated on a common base across all EU countries.

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Two weeks before a European Council dedicated to innovation and the digital economy, the French Ministry of Finance organised a conference on October 9 focusing on the taxation of internet companies. The conference was held in the presence of European Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta, in charge of taxation and customs union, as well as the French ministers Fleur Pellerin (SMEs and digital policy), and Pierre Moscovici (economy and finance).

France is keen to push the taxation issue at international level and has launched a campaign to convince EU member states that a common approach was necessary at European level, reports EurActiv.

Mr. Moscovici set the scene by drawing attention to the "Peps" roadmap, adopted by the G20 last summer in St Petersburg, which focuses on the taxation of digital companies as its first point.

"The diagnosis is now well-known: many of those digital companies like Facebook, Amazon or Google use very sophisticated tax optimisation practices that are often legal," said Pierre Collin, co-author of a parliamentary report on digital taxation for the French National Assembly. But more worrying still is public opinion, Mr. Collin said, pointing to the widespread public anger in the UK over the tax avoidance of Starbucks, the global US coffeehouse chain.

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