Digital tax: France presses ahead
French Finance minister Bruno Le Maire on Wednesday presented cabinet with the so-called Gafa tax, aimed at leveraging tax revenues of 500 million euros annually for France. Gafa stands for Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. All digital companies with revenues of more than 25 million euros will be liable for taxation. How much clout does the French initiative have?
Paris is taking digital threats seriously
Le Figaro praises the venture:
“In an increasingly digitised world of information the Gafa heavyweights have monopolised the traditional media business and its advertising revenues. In social media they have created a channel without filters or responsibility, which spurts fake news and hate speech. We have reached a point where this hegemony threatens state sovereignty and democracy itself. … In his letter to Europe Macron opportunely emphasised the need for an urgent response, proposing that we put in place 'European supervision of the major digital platforms'. The failed project of a European Gafa tax shows how hard it is to move forward together. When such essential matters are under threat nobody should be criticised for going on the offensive on their own.”
France just polishing its image
With its digital tax the French government is giving in to the tech giants, Mediapart rails:
“This tax has a perverse effect: it validates fiscal optimisation practices while saving money for the companies concerned. For several tens of millions of euros, Amazon, Facebook and Apple will calmly be able to continue receiving tax exemptions, and thus save several times this amount. So in fact the measure is less a tax than a sort of friendly transaction by means of which the French government, facing up to the fact that it can't do anything to stop fiscal optimisation in the EU, accepts the Gafa companies' practices in exchange for a symbolic sum. And in making a big noise about something rather small, it hopes to polish its image as righter of economic wrongs.”