The finance ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Spain have written a joint letter to the European Union's presidency and Commission calling for taxes on tech giants' revenues, not just their profits. The four nations want the Commission to produce an "equalization tax" that would make companies pay the equivalent of the corporate tax in the countries where they earn revenue. France is leading a push to clamp down on the taxation of such companies, but has found support from other countries also frustrated at the low tax they receive under current international rules.
Tax authorities in France are reportedly seeking €600m in taxes from the local subsidiary of software giant Microsoft. The company paid €32.2 million in corporate tax in France last year, and billed French customers from its operation in Ireland, where business tax rates are considerably lower, the weekly L'Express reported on Wednesday.
The 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."
The U.S. is set for steady economic growth, while the U.K. and Russia appear to be heading for slowdowns, according to leading indicators released Tuesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The leading indicator for the U.S. was unchanged at 99.7 for the third straight month, signaling that its growth outlook has steadied, albeit at a weaker rate than normal. This is an improvement on indicators published in July, which hinted at a U.S. slowdown, and implies global economic prospects could be boosted as U.S. trade flows pick up.
France is Airbnb's second largest market and yet in 2016, the internet giant paid the country just €92,944 in taxes – equivalent to the amount paid by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). With 350,000 listings, France is Airbnb's second-largest market after the United States, and Paris, the most visited city in the world, is its biggest single market, with 65,000 homes.
Switzerland and France have smoothed over concerns which had blocked the exchange of tax data between the two countries, a boost to French efforts to pursue cash hidden from the taxman. The way in which data sent over by Switzerland was used in a French legal case involving UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, had raised concerns for the Swiss that the two countries had different understandings of their double taxation agreement (DTA). DTAs are in place to try to prevent double taxation and also set the ground rules for administrative assistance in tax matters.
Google emerged on Wednesday as the victor in its latest legal battle in Europe, after a French court said the technology behemoth did not have to pay $1.3 billion in back taxes. At issue was whether Google had avoided taxes in France by routing sales in the country through an Irish-based subsidiary over a five-year period ending in 2010.
French bank watchdog ACPR said it had fined BNP Paribas €10 million for inadequate anti-money laundering controls. Reuters reports that the penalty followed a 2015 inspection of the bank which revealed a number of shortcomings in its provisions for preventing money laundering and financing of terrorism, ACPR said in a statement. And it found that the bank dragged its feet in implementing an overhaul of its operations that it had officially decided to implement in 2013.
The most widely monitored ‘fear gauge’ on Wall Street has fallen to its lowest level since 1993, helped by one of the strongest corporate earnings seasons in years, geopolitical risks around North Korea cooling off, and Emmanuel Macron’s French presidential victory removing a possible source of upset across Europe. The CBOE Volatility Index, better known as the VIX and the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, closed at 9.77, its lowest close since December 1993, according to Bloomberg data. The index is the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility and tends to spike when there are potential sources of shock on the horizon. But analysts said this week that there are no obvious risky events immediately in the pipeline and macro-economic data has been relatively robust too.
The French presidential election has delivered a clear win to Emmanuel Macron. With an estimated 65.8% of the votes going to Macron, compared to 34.2% to Marine Le Pen, he is France’s new president. At the same time the election brought the highest rate of protest votes since 1969. 26% of voters abstained and 9% handed in a blank form. Switzerland’s press and politicians largely consider the election of new French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday as good news. Doris Leuthard, Switzerland’s president, said: “On behalf of the Swiss government I congratulate Mr Macron on his election as president of the French Republic. Switzerland and France are linked by a common language and shared values of liberty and democracy. Based on this I am convinced that we will continue our good neighbourly relationship and that our two countries will pursue and deepen our stable and positive cooperation.”
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