The French Minister of Economic Affairs, Bruno Le Maire, said on Wednesday that the fiscal situation of digital platforms such as Airbnb in France was “inacceptable” and announced that France and Germany would launch a joint initiative on the issue in mid-September. “These digital platforms gross dozens of millions, but only a few dozens of thousands of euros go to the French treasury,” Le Maire told the French National Assembly.
Citing the case of Airbnb, an online platform for temporary accommodation, he said it paid out less than 100,000 euros in taxes in 2016, whereas the site had more than 10 million French users, as the French press revealed on Monday.
“Airbnb has the right to operate in France, but we also have the right to demand a fair contribution to the French public treasury from Airbnb and all digital platforms,” Le Maire stressed. He admitted that the OECD and the European Commission were already looking into these fiscal matters, “but all that takes too much time, all that is too complicated,” he said.
He announced the submission “of a Franco-German proposal at the next Council of European Ministers” on September 15 in Tallin, Estonia, “to speed things up”. Sources close to the minister said that “a specific text on digital taxation” would be added to the agenda.
The aim of the initiative will be to have all digital platforms taxed, all the digital giants, whether Google, Amazon or Facebook,” Le Maire said. “Everyone must pay fair taxes”, Le Maire said.