A project to better tax internet giants, led by France, Spain, Italy and Germany, got a kick-start via a meeting between the EU Finance Ministers in Tallinn. It has been met with resistance by some members, including Ireland.
Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – often grouped together under the acronym GAFA – are regularly accused of tax evasion through financial arrangements that reduce the amount of tax they pay.
In this digital age, “the current tax system does not work, and that’s why we have to find another solution”, says the Estonian Finance Minister Toomas Toniste. His country currently holds the Presidency of the EU.
The 28 EU Finance Ministers met on Saturday, to hasten progress on ensuring a mutual approach during their programmed meeting in December. The European Commission will be then tasked with drawing up a legislative proposition in 2018.
The idea is to have a tax applied to the turnover generated by internet giants like Google and Facebook in every European country. Profit is currently the reference used to calculate the tax paid by businesses. A lot of multinational internet companies concentrate their profit in branches located in low-tax countries like Ireland even if they generate nearly all their turnover in other EU countries.