France’s Senate approves digital tax, here are the details

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France’s Upper House of Parliament has endorsed a government proposal to impose tax on Internet giants aimed to garner millions of euros.

During a vote late on Tuesday in the Senate, 181 senators approved the tax, while four opposed President Emmanuel Macron’s executive team’s initiative to tax the world’s top digital companies by 3 per cent on much of their digital sales in France related to advertising, websites and the resale of private data.

“The approval of digital tax is a very strong message sent by France. It’s a signal of fiscal fairness and of our desire to rebuild the international taxation of the 21st century,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France info radio on Wednesday.

Dubbed GAFA, the taxation targets digital companies with global annual sales of more than 750 million euros ($837.66 million) and sales in France of at least 25 million euros.

Introduced in France from January 1, 2019, this 3 per cent tax on digital gross sales would help to collect 500 million euros this year and 650 million euros by 2022.

This initiative comes at a time when the government has been beset by nationwide protests against the high cost of living and economic policies perceived as favouring big business and the wealthy, but doing nothing to help the needy.

Reports say the taxation was also driven by domestic budget concerns and the need to seek new sources to compensate for extra-spending on emergency measures worth 10 billion euros to address the “Yellow Vest” social uprising.