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Trump launches inquiry into "French plan to tax tech giants"


Gold Member
Feb 1, 2017
US President Donald Trump has ordered an investigation into France's planned tax on tech giants - a move that could result in retaliatory tariffs.
His trade representative said the US was "very concerned" that the tax "unfairly targets American companies".
On Thursday the French parliament is due to approve a 3% levy on revenue made by such companies as Google and Facebook inside the country.
France argues that these firms currently exploit global tax loopholes.
Tech giants are able to locate their headquarters in low-tax countries where they declare most of their profits, thereby minimising their tax bill.
The new tax would be retrospectively applied from early 2019, and is expected to raise about €400m ($450m; £360m) this year.
Any digital company with revenue of more than €750m - of which at least €25m is generated in France - would be subject to the tax.

What has the US said?
"[Mr Trump] has directed that we investigate the effects of this legislation and determine whether it is discriminatory or unreasonable and burdens or restricts United States commerce," the statement from trade representative Robert Lighthizer said.
The latest inquiry was welcomed by Republican Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Ron Wyden, the senior Democrat on the panel.

"The digital services tax that France and other European countries are pursuing is clearly protectionist and unfairly targets American companies in a way that will cost US jobs and harm American workers," they said in a joint statement.

Figures to consider
The European Commission estimates that on average traditional businesses face a 23% tax rate on their profits within the EU, while internet companies typically pay 8% or 9%.

Which companies will have to pay
About 30 - mostly American companies - will pay it. Chinese, German, Spanish and British firms will also be affected.

Pay taxes there, where you make profit, how could that be "unfair"?
I'd with the tax was EU wide, but Ireland (and, for reasons unknown to me, Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland) torpedoed it.
Of other EU countries, UK (I know, brexit, chuckle), Spain and Austria are considering similar moves.
Mar 18, 2018
I don’t mind an investigation if the conclusion reached is that the US will close the loopholes.

Getting salty about another country handling business for you is just salt mining.