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Digital firms pay less than half tax of traditional rivals- EU Commission

Digital firms pay less than half tax of traditional rivals- EU Commission”

The European Union's executive arm said Thursday that it is ready to propose new tax taxes on digital companies like Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google by next spring if there isn't "adequate global progress" toward a rewrite of corporate tax rules at an worldwide level.

The European Commission today took the first steps towards an EU-wide tax crackdown on digital companies such as Facebook, Uber and Amazon.

The withholding tax would be levied on goods and services bought online.

"The goal of this Commission has always been to ensure that companies pay their fair share of tax where they generate profits", Pierre Moscovici, the EU's tax chief, said in a statement. European officials are frustrated that Silicon Valley companies that do business on the continent get away with paying little in taxes because they often lack a physical presence there.

The commission also said the first focus should be on pushing for a fundamental reform of global tax rules, which would ensure a better link between how value is created and where it is taxed.

One of the key issues related to such companies is that corporation tax is paid through profits made in the country, rather than turnover figures.

The EU is urging other global bodies and prosperous nations, including the USA, to raise taxes on digital firms in order to keep pace with the changing economy.

In the longer-term, the European Union should review the notion of "permanent establishment" so that firms could be taxed also in countries where they do not have a physical presence, the Commission said.

The commission acknowledged in its paper Thursday that these taxes have "pros and cons" including potential conflicts with tax treaties aimed at avoiding double taxation, as well as with state aid rules and free-trade agreements.

"Yet something has to be done", the commission added.



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