United Kingdom government drafts Digital Services Tax legislation
United Kingdom government drafts Digital Services Tax legislation
Expect a lot of legal challenges said Giuseppe de Martino president of the French tech industry group ASIC. Stock image
14 July, 2019, 10:28
It is due to kick in retroactively from the start of 2019.
The tax will be introduced in 2020 and will be €1.50 on economy-class tickets, both within France, and between other European Union countries. Facebook, Amazon and Google owner Alphabet are all in the firing line.
An inquiry targeting Britain would further strain relations between Washington and London, which have been tested in recent days following the leak of United Kingdom diplomatic cables that were critical of President Donald Trump.
The French tax, approved by the country's Senate yesterday, will apply a 3% tax on technology companies with revenue of more than €750m ($850m) of which at least €25m is generated in France.
The national proposals come after an EU-wide effort to pass a digital tax on corporations failed previous year, thanks to resistance from countries like Ireland and the Netherlands. France forecasts that the tax could bring in as much as €500m a year.
Lighthizer's office said it had reason to believe that France was "unfairly targeting the tax" on USA companies. When in place, the proposed United Kingdom digital services tax will target "large digital businesses" that generate more than £500m in global revenue and more than £25m in United Kingdom revenue, upon which it will impose a 2% levy.
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The adoption of the law came as Britain unveiled draft legislation for a tax on digital giants, that would amount to 2.0 percent and reflect "the value derived from their United Kingdom users", the British government said.
Industry group techUK warned of similar consequences from the U.K.'s proposed 2% tax on digital services in a statement Thursday.
Tech giants face payments in the tens of millions under the measure. "France is a sovereign country which makes sovereign decisions about its tax regime and it will continue to make sovereign decisions about its tax regime". In the first quarter of this year, for instance, Amazon's share of French e-commerce went down slightly, but the American retail behemoth still controlled no less than half of France's online trade.
France is the first country in Europe to introduce this kind of tax.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement ahead of the adoption of the French law that Washington was "very concerned" it would "unfairly" target American companies. Mr Boris Johnson, the man most likely to become the country's new prime minister by the end of this month, vows to hit the companies harder. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is now reviewing steps to modernize the tax system for the digital economy but has said it won't reach a conclusion until 2020.
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