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Four settlement issues that could make Google, Amazon and Facebook pay taxes

A global agreement involving 127 countries has set a Tuesday for Gafa's tax, digital giants.

Gafa (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple) are headaches in terms of taxation. These digital giants are practicing tax optimization and avoiding taxation in the countries where many (many) users are making and profits.

However, such a situation may change with the primary agreement of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which was published on Tuesday, January 29.

What's the problem with Gafa?

The difficulty lies in the fact that Gafa is a company specializing in digital technology. "They have intangible activity that does not have to be fixed on the territory", Nicolas Arpagian, author of the book cybersecurity (2015, eds PUF), contacted by franceinfo. Their profits are shifted to European countries with very favorable taxes, such as Ireland or Luxembourg. "These countries have even made it one of the pillars of their economy, adds the author. They tax less, but to a greater number of companies ", In Ireland, the tax rate is, for example, 12.5%, to 33.3% in France release.

Even when they were filed by French tax authorities, these companies managed to escape, like Google, who avoided tax returns of more than a billion euros due to "legal uncertainty as to its founding in France", rappellait Express Faced with these difficulties and the inability to reach a global agreement, some countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Singapore or Spain have taken the lead and unilaterally introduced taxes to those giants of the world. which should come into force during 2019 World (subscriber article), sand the new OECD tax regulations have been adopted by G20 leaders (…), then it would be logical to replace Gafa taxes that some countries have unilaterally adopted ".

What does this agreement provide?

The agreement published on Tuesday, January 29, was decided within an inclusive framework, the OECD body in which there are international tax rules which includes 127 countries, including France, China and the United States. "The international community has made a significant step towards addressing the fiscal challenges that have caused digitalization of the economy"Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD's Center for Tax Policy and Administration, said in a statement.

The first evolution concerns "redistribution of rights that are imposed", in advance World (subscriber article), Previously, the right to tax was owned by the country where the company is based. From now on, this right can be shared between the country where the platform is located and the country where the platform users are located. Namely, "You have to see where digital energy is spent, says Nicolas Arpagian. maybe this is the best indicator of ", According to him, "spending on the national territory, depending on the number of nationals of the users of the platform user, should be the billing unit".

The second pillar of the agreement is the introduction of a minimum tax target for companies whose profits are realized in low-tax countries. "This system would allow the state to recover the difference between the tax paid abroad and the tax that would have been paid on its territory", written World, For Nicolas Arpagian, this agreement is beneficial to countries as it will be "painless for the consumer". "These companies will use their financial reserves to pay those penalties." Politically, it is symbolic, he addsthis shows that the state can get tax revenues without pushing the population further ".

How can this agreement be applied?

The introduction of this tax is not necessarily obvious. "When you have physical supplies, it's easier admits Nicolas Arpagian. because taxation is based on the materiality of goods and services "Currently, the number of audiences comes from the platform, so states will need to be able to check them out. "We will have to answer the questions:" Where is the creation of value, where wealth is created? "It is imperative that the state has the professional power so it does not depend only on the numbers or descriptions of the actions that these giants provide., says the author. There is a risk that states can not understand the mechanisms used by Gafa.

"It is difficult to determine the tax base, it will be necessary to find reliable, standardized financial information that is common to all stakeholders, then determine the declarative process with the management and ensure effective supervisory capacity. for actors who are partly abroad, it is complicated, Embraces Thomas Mercey, a tax attorney at Arsene, interviewed by Usisenouvelle.

The last trap: Avoid Hadopi syndrome. "This regulation was based on takeover, but today is the transfer of electricity", says Nicolas ArpagianThe latter insists that it should not be locked in a regulation that is too fixed where it would only be taken into account "technologies that are now known or mastered".

If that tax could come about?

This agreement is far and ends with a paralysis that lasted nearly seven years. "We did not think we could get there this year"admitted Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General. "I think there are conditions to set this year the basis of the agreement that could be approved and come into force in 2020. It is possible to"persuaded the head of this institution.

Positive: In Davos, where the World Economic Forum was held in late January, Google Vice President Ruth Porat also backed these negotiations. "As far as the issue of taxation is concerned, we are very honest: we support the OECD initiative"she explained on the round table. Great architect of GAFA tax, Bruno Le Maire welcomed it "important Notice". "We were fighting for the moons to improve the theme"he recalled.

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