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France set to tax digital giants in 2019

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France Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire

France will push ahead with its own tax on large internet and technology GAFA companies (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) from January 1, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday, as the European Union struggles to finalise a new EU-wide levy.

While details have yet to be published, the measure aims to tax digital sales linked to advertising and personal data, generating an estimated EUR 500 million in 2019 for the public treasury.

The government listed the new tax among the measures that will help finance President Emmanuel Macron’s recently unveiled plan to increase purchasing power, which was announced earlier this month to address widespread public unrest over rising living costs. The government also plans to limit the planned reduction in the corporate tax rate in 2019, with the drop to 31 percent from 33 percent applying only to companies with annual turnover of less EUR 250 million.

Meanwhile, Le Maire said that he would continue to progress work on an EU digital sales tax with his European counterparts, in a bid to convince a group of countries still opposed to the project, adding that his ambition is to bring a resolution before March next year.

In addition to taxing direct sales, France will also require the companies to pay a levy on “advertising revenues, websites and the resale of private data,” he said, after a meeting with Russia’s economic development minister Maxim Oreshkin.

“We are fully determined to win a unanimous European decision,” he added, adding that Paris and Berlin would work together to convince those in Europe still opposed to the tax.

Edited by Neo Sesinye
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