Le Maire: France to go ahead with digital tax this year regardless of international deal

FILE PHOTO: French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire speaks during a presentation of the details for the end of the country’s lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Hotel Matignon in Paris, France May 7, 2020. Christophe Archambault/Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) – France will go ahead with plans to apply a tax on digital businesses this year whether or not there is an international deal on the issue, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday.

“Never has a digital tax been more legitimate,” Le Maire said, echoing comments he made earlier that the coronavirus crisis made such levies more pertinent than ever.

Nearly 140 countries are negotiating the first major rewriting of international tax rules in more than a generation, to take better account of the rise of big tech companies that often book profit in low-tax countries.

However, the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak has left finance ministries more focused on saving their economies than overhauling outdated tax rules, making a deadline of the end of the year to wrap up the talks look increasingly unlikely.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas, Writing by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Alison Williams

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