The European Union will take measures to tax US tech giants if the international community doesn’t agree to a new system early next year, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday (21 November).
“Last month, the Commission launched a public consultation on how to tax the digital economy,” the Danish Commissioner told a conference organised by the French economy ministry in Paris.
She said the EU would use the results of the consultation in negotiations being held under the auspices of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the 35-nation club of industrialised nations.
But Vestager warned that “if there’s no international answer to this issue by spring next year, we’ll produce our own proposal for new EU rules to make sure digital companies are taxed fairly.”
Spurred on by French President Emmanuel Macron, who has slammed the likes of Google, Facebook and Apple as the “freeloaders of the modern world”, EU leaders have agreed to tackle the question.
The Commission opened an in-depth investigation on 26 October into the UK exemptions granted to multinationals to protect them from tax avoidance rules, as part of Vestager’s efforts to curb tax avoidance practices, one of the Commission’s top priorities since 2014.