EU Commission Excludes Proposal on Digital Tax, Pushed by Germany, France

IRELAND'S EU FURY: Dublin set for TAX WAR with Brussels - ‘We have STRONG concerns’

Facebook logo picture illustration made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ireland's finance minister poured cold water Tuesday on a new Franco-German proposal for a European tax on companies' digital revenues, saying it failed to address his concerns.

Germany especially fears damaging tariff hikes on vehicle exports to the USA and top executives are expected in Washington on Tuesday to try to appease Trump and head off a trade war.

"We invite the EU Commission and the Council first to amend and focus its draft directive for a digital services tax on a tax base referring to advertisement, on the basis of a three percent tax on turnover, and second to submit proposals in due course on taxing the digital economy and minimum taxation in line with the work of the OECD".

The tax requires the support of all 28 EU states, including small, low-tax countries like Ireland that have benefited by allowing multinationals to book profits there on digital sales to customers elsewhere in the European Union.

The setback is a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron, as his government had invested considerable political capital in the tax.

France and Germany wanted the EU states to approve the tax by March next year, prior to the European Parliament elections in May and change in the Commission, so it could take effect from the start of 2021.

In the original European Commission proposal, the tax was meant to be a temporary "quick fix" until a broader solution could be found among OECD members. The EU digital tax would apply to the German-French plans, but for only a limited period up to 2025.

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France and Germany sought on Tuesday to salvage a proposed European Union tax on big digital firms including Google and Facebook by narrowing the focus to cover only companies' online advertising revenue.

US lawmaker Kevin Brady, chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives, welcomed the failure of the proposal, calling the tax a "revenue grab" aimed at an industry dominated by American firms.

Limits the tax to a 3 percent levy on online advertising revenues. "They'll say it's not enough and I can understand them", France's finance minister Bruno Le Maire said.

Finance ministers from reluctant countries didn't give their backing to the narrowed Franco-German plan at the meeting, but said they wouldn't stand in the way of further talks.

The tax would only come into force in 2021 if a plan for a global solution being negotiated at the OECD is not agreed before then.

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