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France takes tech tax lead with radical 5% proposal

France takes tech tax lead with radical 5% sales levy

France is taking the lead in global efforts to make multinational tech giants pay up their fair share of tax to national governments.

A tougher stance will see France move first to impose a levy of as much as 5% on sales this year, with the precise charge to be decided by a meeting of the French cabinet next month but would be applied retroactively to sales conducted from 1 January onwards.

If approved US multinationals such as Netflix, Amazon and Apple would be taxed on their revenues rather than profits, ending the loophole which sees international evade taxes by routing profits via tax-friendly nations such as Ireland.

Such a measure would go much further than a comparable move by UK chancellor Philip Hammond, who plans a smaller 2% digital tax which would not be implemented until 2020.

In an effort to form a unified front the European Commission has proposed that each country impose a 3% sales tax but this proposal has failed to find agreement among member states.