PARIS: French president Emmanuel Macron says that his proposal for a new revenue tax for US tech groups is not a threat to the Irish economy but aimed at creating a level playing field for all companies.
Tensions between Paris and Dublin have risen over Mr Macron’s “digital tax” proposal to tax technology multinationals such as Google, Apple and Facebook on the revenues, rather than the profits, that they generate in each country. The French leader’s plan is aimed at stopping the companies structuring their businesses so that profits are booked in low-tax countries such as Ireland and Luxembourg. Mr Macron said that the Irish Government has nothing to fear from his proposals.
The idea is to not have taxation that is asymmetrical between countries. The idea is to achieve European progress,” Mr Macron said in response to a question from The Irish Times at his new year’s press conference. The failure to tax multinational internet companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple was unfair and hurts the European technology industry, he said. The digital actors are actors of our economic transformation,” Mr Macron said. “That is a good thing. But today, the big digital multinationals do not contribute as they should to financing the public good. The French leader drew parallels between the importance of collective negotiations in the talks on the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union and on EU-wide taxation of tech multinationals. Each one [government] thinks they have an interest in negotiating on their own. They think they negotiate better than their neighbour. If we do that, it is probable that we will create a situation that is unfavourable to the European Union and thus to each one of us,” he said. The French government is confident that the EU Commission will take up Mr Macron’s proposals, which are backed by Germany, Italy and Spain, after a public consultation on proposals to tax the digital economy better ends this month. The Irish Government believes the tax issue should be addressed globally and not at a European level.