A tax on digital giants – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple – or Gafa tax, Bruno Le Maire has wanted one for a long time. Last year, long before Covid-19, France had already developed and even started collecting its own digital tax. But that had earned him threats of commercial retaliation from the United States. Suddenly, France had suspended its tax. Bruno Le Maire then preferred to line up behind the current international negotiations on this subject within the OECD.
The minister then explained that a Gafa tax would be more effective if it applied globally. Except that the crisis changed the situation. Already, international discussions on the digital tax have been stopped. And above all, digital companies are, in fact, the big winners of the epidemic, Hence this desire of Bruno Le Maire to make them participate in the national effort while France is experiencing a violent recession
Whether international discussions are successful or not, in any case, France will apply its own digital tax at the end of the year. This time will be the right one, even if Bercy nevertheless hopes to find an agreement at European level. But Sweden and Ireland, which host the headquarters of these giants, brake four irons. After reluctance, Germany finally followed the French position but the compromise was far from being achieved.
The 2019 French tax related to digital turnover, that is to say on advertising revenue, but also on income from the resale of personal data that firms can pocket. Last year, the government estimated it at 400 million euros, about forty companies were concerned. 400 million euros is not huge compared to the billions that these digital giants pocket, especially at the moment.