European leaders seek greater taxes for digital giants

EU countries seek tax on revenues of tech companies

Google, Facebook, And Others May Have To Pay More For EU Operations

Four EU countries are proposing a new tax on multinational corporations aimed at hitting major U.S. tech giants, such as Apple, Amazon, and Google, that have been accused of avoiding corporation tax.

European regulators have become increasingly aggressive against United States technology giants seen by officials as gaining too much power, with Amazon and Apple also facing scrutiny.

Currently, EU treaties require tax proposals to have the unanimous support of all member countries, meaning any such measure would need to win over the countries doing the tax sheltering, like Luxembourg and Ireland. France's Bruno Le Maire, Germany's Wolfgang Schaeuble, Italy's Pier-Carlo Padoan and Spain's Luis de Guindos will present their proposal at an informal meeting of finance ministers in Tallinn later this week.

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It also comes days after Estonia, which is holding the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union until the 2018, warned at a recent conference on this issue that unilateral approaches to digital taxation are ineffective. "It will demonstrate our commitment to appropriately tax the companies of the digital economy in a way that reflects their genuine activity in the European Union". Cut-rate corporate tax rates are a way for those countries to attract revenue, though the end result is that large, profitable tech giants and other multinationals are able to pay next to nothing or even nothing in taxes in some of their markets.

Several national authorities in the European Union have opened up tax fights with Google and other Internet giants.

The EU on June 27 hit Google with a record €2.4 billion (S$4 billion) fine for abusing its dominant position in the search engine business and illegally favouring its own shopping service over rivals.

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It's an worldwide issue-Microsoft was given an £87 million ($115 million) bill by the Chinese tax authorities in 2014 for allegedly avoided back taxes-but one which European nations have been seeking to address of late: The UK charged Google £130 million in back taxes at the end of a six-year investigation in 2016, followed by a €1.6 billion bill from the French authorities over the same issue.

The new system is created to make sure that internet companies pay more to the European Union in the future.

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