U.S. to hold hearing on French digital tax investigation by August 19th

Expect a lot of legal challenges said Giuseppe de Martino president of the French tech industry group ASIC. Stock image

The move was applauded by the Computer & Communications Industry Association which said the French law would retroactively require United States internet giants to turn over a percentage of their revenues from the start of 2019.

Other EU countries including Austria, Britain, Spain and Italy have also announced plans for their own digital taxes. It would hit about 30 companies, including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

President Donald Trump has ordered an investigation into the digital tax.

Yesterday (11 July), the French government approved a 3pc tax on large tech companies' local revenues, which is their total sales in France.

"We have made a decision to put in place an eco-tax on all flights from France", Ms Borne said during a news conference on Tuesday.

France pushed ahead with the tax after European Union countries failed to agree a levy valid across the bloc in the face of opposition from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. In October 2018 the United Kingdom government's 2018 Budget included a proposed "Digital Services Tax" which would be 'a narrowly-targeted tax on the UK-generated revenues of specific digital platform business models' - primarily as a means of closing a loophole which has seen companies like Google dodge billions in tax.

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They argued that America's argument that the companies, also including Apple, are already being taxed at their headquarters in the United States and should not be subjected to another tax.

Industry group techUK warned of similar consequences from the U.K.'s proposed 2% tax on digital services in a statement Thursday. The French hope their new tax will encourage other countries to take on big tech, but there are concerns that all of it could spark a trade war between France and the U.S. Jake Cigainero reports from Paris. In the first quarter of this year, for instance, Amazon's share of French e-commerce went down slightly, but the American retail behemoth still controlled no less than half of France's online trade.

But the lawmakers noted that France is a sovereign state which can not be dictated to how to operate and how to handle businesses taking part within its territories. This means that they not only bypass the tax authorities of Britain, France and Germany - where most of their customers are, in Europe - but often do not even have to publicly disclose their tax returns.

Both pieces of legislation apply only to the biggest tech companies, many of which are American.

Furthermore, Paris has pledged to drop its tax as soon as an worldwide agreement is reached at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to overhaul decades-old cross-border tax rules for the digital era.

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