France’s president wants to tax U.S. tech giants an extra $792 million

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Funds could help pay some of the emergency funds Macron recently announced.
Photo: Pictures of Money/Flickr CC

Beleaguered French president Emmanuel Macron is hoping to win back public favor by putting in place tax hikes on American tech giants doing business in Europe.

France has reportedly been working with other countries in the European Union to introduce a digital tax on companies including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google. The new taxes, set to be introduced in January, could pull in $792 million.

“The tax will be introduced no matter what on January 1, and it will be for the whole of 2019,” French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said. In a recent radio interview, Le Maire said that the public should “fight with me” to make sure that tech giants pay, “the taxes that they owe.”

The accumulated taxes will help pay for a 10 billion euro emergency spending sum announced by Macron after the recent riots in France. As part of these riots, an Apple Store in Bordeaux was raided by a mob wearing the protest movement’s signature yellow jackets.

Apple’s challenges in Europe

Tim Cook met with Emmanuel Macron in 2017, shortly following his election. While the meeting seemingly went well, it apparently didn’t settle European discontent with the way that Apple structures its business in the EU, which Macron is a big part of.

The European Union handed Apple a massive $16.7 billion tax bill in August 2016. This was based on an investigation which alleged that Apple paid the equivalent of as little as 0.005 percent on all European profits in 2014. Apple paid the last installment of this tax bill late this year, although it continues to argue it has paid its rightful contributions.

Since his election, Macron has been outspoken about wanting to develop a new taxation scheme that makes it tougher for tax giants to avoid taxes through complex shell company structures.

Source: Financial Review