French cosmetics group L'Oreal announced on Friday it had reached a settlement with France's tax authorities to pay around 320 million euros in a correction of tax returns made by three of its subsidiaries between 2014 and 2018.
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.
France has moved independently from the European Union with the approval by its parliament on Thursday of a 3 percent tax on sales of more than 25 million euros generated in the country by technology companies, which would notably include US giants such as Google and Facebook, and which the White House said it was investigating as it could amount to an unfair trade practice.
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.
by Yann Philippin and Martin Hesse, Simon Hage (Der Spiegel) et Blaz Zgaga
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.
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.
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