10.08.2017

France: Tax system unacceptable for platform as Airbnb

400The issue of tax in Europe does not seem to be a happy one when it comes to tech giants like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. According to France's new Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, France and Germany can harmonize their corporate tax rates by 2018, paving the way for full harmonization across the eurozone.

Le Maire made the comments during a television interview with Bloomberg. When asked if he wishes to lower the corporate tax rate to 25 percent across all states in the eurozone, Le Maire replied that the Macron Government has decided first to reduce the level of taxation in France. He argued that the tax burden is "too high and too unstable."

“Airbnb has the right to operate in France. But we have the right to demand from Airbnb and all the other digital platforms a fair contribution to the French treasury,” Le Maire said. French newspaper Le Parisien reported on Monday that Airbnb paid less than €100,000 in French taxes last year when more than 10 million French people used the site.

Many digital platforms operating in the EU are based in Ireland, which offers a low corporate tax regime, allowing internet giants to escape a higher tax rate in other member countries.

Other web giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook would also be included in the initiative, Le Maire said. “Everybody has to pay a fair contribution,” he said.

On the other hand countries like Germany, France, Italy, UK do not want to take fewer taxes from these tech companies rather a meaningful amount of tax is what they are asking for. Therefore, we can see that last year the European Commission accounted for Apple to pay billions of dollars in taxes.

Coming in September, the European Union will have an important meeting, where the French are supposed to propose the new tax regulation for tech companies. This proposal was what Germany and France discussed last month. France’s President Emmanuel Macron has set out to lower French corporate taxes to 25 percent for five years and Bruno Le Maire is also expecting that other European countries would follow the same path to stay together.

Regarding this issue, Maire said to Bloomberg that “France was making a considerable effort. We’re asking other member states of the euro zone to make a similar effort in the other direction.”

This is the latest in a string of attempts by the EU and national governments to force operators in the sharing economy to pay their fair share of taxes and social contributions.


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