Technology: Google, Facebook, Amazon to testify in U.S. against French digital tax - PressFrom - US

TechnologyGoogle, Facebook, Amazon to testify in U.S. against French digital tax

01:50  14 august  2019
01:50  14 august  2019 Source:

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The French tax alone would represent just a sliver of the revenues of American tech giants. But it could pave the way for further regulation of U . S . tech France' s Le Maire has been an outspoken proponent of a digital tax , arguing Google , Amazon and Facebook benefit from lower tax rates than European

(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. France won’t back off from its planned tax on companies like Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’ s Google even after the U . S . suggested it may use trade tools against the levy.The French

By David Shepardson

Google, Facebook, Amazon to testify in U.S. against French digital tax© Reuters/REUTERS FILE PHOTO FILE PHOTO: The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's Google unit, Facebook Inc and Inc are among the companies that will testify Monday at a U.S. government hearing on the French government's digital services tax.

In July, the French Senate approved a 3% levy that will apply to revenue from digital services earned in France by companies with more than 25 million euros in French revenue and 750 million euros ($838 million) worldwide.

The U.S. Trade Representative's Office in July opened a probe into the new tax it called "unreasonable." The office could issue new tariffs on French goods or other trade restrictions after the public comment period closes on Aug. 26.

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France is targeting large technology firms such as Google , Amazon , Facebook , Apple, and others in a move that could fetch the French nation about 0 million. France is going ahead with its new tax policies on large tech companies as the EU is yet to make a final decision on the bloc-wide digital tax .

Amazon will more than double its U . S . digital -advertising revenue in 2018 — but it’ s still going to be a distant third place behind the sector’ s “duopoly” of Google and Facebook . That’ s according to new estimates from eMarketer. The research firm, in a report released Sept.

Amazon's international tax policy director Peter Hiltz said in written testimony for the USTR hearing that more than 10,000 French-based small- and medium-size businesses are selling on Amazon’s online stores and notified them that certain fees will increase by 3% for sales made on starting Oct. 1.

He added that "U.S. products and services sold through Amazon’s online store in France will cost more as a result" of the tax.

Facebook global tax policy head Alan Lee's testimony said the tax "poses difficulties for Facebook's business model and will hinder growth and innovation in the digital economy" and would require a re-engineering of its systems.

He added that "while we may have the necessary data to calculate the tax, it would require additional time and resources to capture this data and maintain it for these new tax and audit purposes."

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France expects to collect 2 million in 2019 through a new digital tax that targets 30 Big Tech companies, including Facebook , Google , Amazon , and Apple. On March 6, the French government introduced a 3% digital -services tax on tech giants that earn hefty revenues in France through

The digital tax primarily targets companies that use consumer data to sell online advertising. The tax is designed to stop multinationals from avoiding taxes The French law does not specifically target U . S . companies. It targets any digital company with yearly global sales worth more than 750 million euros

Google trade policy counsel Nicholas Bramble said in written testimony France's tax is "a sharp departure from long-established tax rules and uniquely targets a subset of

businesses" and is "likely to generate disputes on whether specific digital activities were 'supplied in France' or in another region."

Jennifer McCloskey, vice president for policy at Information Technology Industry Council, which represents Amazon, Facebook, Apple Inc, Google and many others, will testify Monday that the tax "represents a troubling precedent, unnecessarily departs from progress toward stable long-lasting international tax policies and may disproportionately impact U.S.-headquartered companies."

The group added "there is a high likelihood that the cost of the tax will be passed down the supply chain."

A group of companies including Airbnb, Amazon, Expedia Group Inc , Facebook, Google, Microsoft Corp and Twitter Inc said in joint written comments to USTR the tax "is unjustifiable in that it infringes international agreements, and unreasonable in that it is discriminatory, retroactive and inconsistent with international tax policy principles."

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to tax French wines over the tax. The White House has said "France’s unilateral measure appears to target innovative U.S. technology firms that provide services in distinct sectors of the economy."

Other EU countries, including Austria, Britain, Spain and Italy, have also announced plans for their own digital taxes.

They say a levy is needed because big, multinational internet companies such as Facebook and Amazon book profits in low-tax countries like Ireland, no matter where the revenue originates.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Facebook also hired human contractors to listen to audio from its Messenger app.
It claims it stopped ‘more than a week ago’

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