US digital communications giant Google has agreed an almost 1 billion-euro settlement with France's tax authorities, who threatened a potentially more costly legal case against the company for under-declaring revenue in its business in the country by using the loophole that its European headquarters were based in Ireland.
French agriculture minister Didier Guillaume has described US President Donald Trump's threat to increase tariffs on French wine imports in retaliation to France's 'foolishness' in deciding to tax sales of digital retail and commercial activities by tech companies, notably US giants like Amazone and Apple, as being 'completely moronic' and 'absurd'.
France's economy minister said his government would 'work closely with our American friends on a universal tax on digital activities' ahead of a G7 summit in Biarritz in late August, adding that French President Emmanuel Macron had held a lengthy conversation with his US counterpart Donald Trump after the latter had slammed Macron's 'foolishness' over the tax and threatened retaliatory tariffs on French wine imports.
In a vitriolic message posted on Twitter, US President Donald Trump slammed a new tax to be levied by France on sales in the country by multinational digital tech firms like Google and Apple, announcing he will take "substantial reciprocal action on Macron's foolishness" and hinting this would be a raising of tariffs on French wine imports.
The 'GAFA' taxwill apply to digital companies with global revenues of over 750 million euros and French revenue over 25 million euros.
In 2007 the famous French singer Charles Aznavour set up a holding company in Luxembourg to receive the dividends he gets from French companies that handle his royalties. More recently members of his family also became involved in this perfectly legal set-up. The result is that this veteran French entertainer, who is resident in Switzerland, and some of his family now pay little tax in France on the proceeds from his music. Romaric Godin reports.
Between 2014 and 2016, German carmaker Volkswagen placed 5.8 billion euros into a financial structure, run by a staff of five, it registered in Luxembourg, and which paid just 1.7 million euros in taxes on the sum. It is one example of an elaborate system of ‘tax optimisation’ created by the giant group in 2012, despite assurances by its supervisory board chairman, Hans Dieter Pötsch, when he was financial director, that “we have never played such games”. Yann Philippin, Martin Hesse, Simon Hage and Blaz Zgaga report.
A Paris administrative court has ruled against the French tax administration claim for back-payments on taxes it claimed were due for the period 2005-2010 when Google and its subsidiary in Ireland were selling a service for inserting online ads to clients in France for years through the California tech giant's search engine.
French minister said it was time for Europe to defend its own interests and make Google, Amazon and Facebook pay 'taxes they owe in Europe'.
The measure was thrown out as French government seeks to make country more attractive for foreign businesses looking to relocate after Brexit.
Serge Dassault, the head of the aviation and defence group that bears his name, a right-wing senator and France's sixth richest person, is accused of laundering the proceeds of tax fraud and of hiding part of his wealth from Parliamentary authorities. The trial, which started on Monday July 4th, focuses on cash hidden in offshore accounts which was allegedly later used to buy votes in the town near Paris where Dassault was mayor. As Yann Philippin reports, the origins of some of these accounts goes back to the days of Serge Dassault's father Marcel, who founded the aviation group.
About 100 officers swooped on US firm's offices in Paris to investigate charges of aggravated tax fraud and money-laundering.
Magazine L'Expansion says French demand is for unpaid taxes on profits believed to have been funnelled through Luxembourg and Switzerland.
A bill of law proposing a punitive 300-euro-per tonne tax on palm oil has been amended to 90 euros per tonne after protests from producer countries.