France: Tech company tax in January
December 18, 2018
From Pascale Paoli-Lebailly in Paris
France is pushing forward with a ‘GAFA’ (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) tax on technology companies that will come into effect on January 1st, 2019.
After plans for an EU levy collapsed, France has pushed ahead and the government forecasts it will bring in some €500 million.
French Minister of the Economy Bruno Lemaire said the tax will not be limited to annual revenues, as was set out in the EU directive, but will be extended to ad revenues, to platforms and the sale of personal data.
The French government also added it won’t give up on its original EU plan, and still hopes to have it in place before the end of March. It will be conferring with those countries still reluctant over the tax, such as Ireland, which hosts the European headquarters of a number of technology companies including Google.
France and Germany have been working together to defend a 3 per cent tax on EU ad sales that could start in 2021.
The financial boost from the GAFA tax is intended to help France to finance the social measures announced to pacify the discontent after the so-called ‘Gilets Jaunes’ protests, whose cost is estimated to be €10 billion.