Austrian tech tax sets its sights on Apple

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tech tax
An Apple store in Austria.
Photo: Apple

The Austrian government will announce plans this month to impose a levy on giant tech companies that make huge online profits that largely go untaxed.

Austria joins France to be among the first countries to tax internet and technology companies that shuttle profits to avoid higher taxes in each company.

Germany is also considering a similar tax in addition to the European Union’s efforts to get tech companies to pay more taxes.

On Saturday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz made the announcement. He said details will be worked out during a government summit later this month, according to a report by German broadcast company Deutsche Welle.

“In addition to a EU-wide move, we’ll also act on a national level,” Kurz said. “The aim is clear – to tax companies that generate huge profits online but pay hardly any tax on them, such as Facebook or Amazon.

According to Deutsche Welle, the EU estimates tech companies pay on average about 9 percent. Other companies pay 23 percent on profit.

France started 2019 implementing a digital service tax known has GAFA, which targets U.S.-based companies Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon.

Apple last year made headlines after the EU forced the company to pay more than $16 billion in back taxes to Ireland. Ireland is opposed to big data taxes and has put the money in escrow in hopes it can return it to Apple.

Apple is among several companies that have located European headquarters in Ireland for its special tax rates, which the EU says creates unfair competition among its bloc.