Austria is the next European nation looking to impose a specialized ‘tech tax’ on internet giants such as Amazon, Apple, and Facebook. This move follows in the footsteps of France and Germany to take action on a national level rather than awaiting an EU-wide agreement.
Just two weeks ago, French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced the new GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) tax would take effect starting January 1. The country hopes to generate as much as 500 million euros in the tax’s first year in effect.
Prior to that, Germany had denied a newspaper report it would begin implementing a 3% tech tax. During that ordeal, Le Maire continued to pressure Germany into legislating a tax, saying:
…a small- or medium-sized company in an EU country such as France, Germany or Italy was paying 14 percentage points more in tax than Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.
If we are incapable of re-establishing a fair tax system, of taxing the digital giants, we will pay for it at the ballot box.
Today, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the country will be following suit, and no longer wait for an EU-wide agreement.
In addition to an EU-wide move, we’ll also act on a national level. We will introduce a digital tax in Austria. The aim is clear — to tax companies that generate huge profits online, but pay hardly any tax on them, such as Facebook or Amazon.
According to dw.com, the European Commission estimates that tech firms pay an estimated 9% on profits, as compared to 23% for traditional companies.
How do you feel about European nations taking a firmer stance against tech giants paying comparably minimal taxes? Discuss in the comments below!