After struggling to secure an agreement for an EU-wide levy, France has confirmed its plans to impose a tax on big technology companies. Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, has announced that the tax will be introduced on January 1, 2019.
The country said at the beginning of the month it would start taxing Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (GAFA) if the EU did not reach an agreement on a bloc-wide tax in 2019.
Despite deriving huge revenues from European economies, the GAFA companies have taken advantage of low-tax jurisdictions, which has allowed them to slash their tax bills by shifting profits to these jurisdictions. A number of other European countries, including the UK, Spain and Italy, have also expressed an interest in introducing a similar tax in response to public outrage.
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"The tax will be introduced whatever happens on January 1 and it will be for the whole of 2019 for an amount that we estimate at €500m ($569m)," Le Maire announced.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has been working on proposals for a similar regulation tax and France has also been working with Germany on plans for a 3% tax on EU advertising. However, frustration at the slow progress has led France to press on alone in order to impact change.