12 Nov 10:53News

EU digital tax plan flounders as states ready national moves

According to the proposal of the EU Executive Commission in March, the EU countries will charge a 3 percent fee for digital revenues of large firms that are accused of withholding tax by sending their profits to low-tax countries in the block.
The plan aims to change the tax rules that allowed some of the world's largest companies to pay unusually low corporate tax rates on their income.

But this requires the support of all 28 EU states, and they are confronted by a number of them, including small, low-tax countries, such as Ireland, that have won by giving transnational corporations the opportunity to register profits there in digital sales to customers elsewhere.

While the harshest criticism previously took place behind closed doors, on Tuesday, many EU finance ministers expressed their concern at a meeting in Brussels that was broadcast over the Internet, allowing them to publicly publish their disputes.

Germany, which initially supported this plan, urged a revision, which excludes from the scope of the new tax activities that may be associated with automakers. German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz also said that the tax should not be applied until the summer of 2020, and only if a global deal is not reached on the same issue.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Meir, who has long been a major supporter of the tax, agreed to postpone its implementation until the end of 2020 - a major concession. But he said that before the end of this year, the EU should reach an agreement on this issue in order to avoid the use of its national taxes by the states, as a result of steps that, according to him, will harm the single EU market.
Spain and the United Kingdom have announced their own national plans for taxing digital companies and have confirmed their intention to move forward without waiting for the EU agreement. Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria said that Italy will also continue to act if the EU does not reach an agreement by the end of the year.

Austria, which supports the EU presidency, said it would make a final attempt to reach an agreement at a meeting of finance ministers in December, but now these units have proved so deep that the chances of a deal have been significantly reduced.

"It’s very difficult to see an agreement on digital tax, because so many technical issues have not yet been resolved,” said Danish Finance Minister Christian Jensen.
He added that the proposed EU tax was designed in such a way that it would hit most US companies, and therefore it would attract US retribution.

Irish Finance Minister Easter Donohoe, who has long opposed taxes fearing this, could cut revenues in Ireland, said the new tax would be a negative precedent for Europe, as it will be imposed in countries where consumers are located and not where services are produced.

"We are pure exporters. What reaction would we have if this model were imposed on us? "He said to the ministers.

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