Digital services taxation – French GAFA Tax

The French GAFA tax finally seems to be materialised after the adoption at first reading by the National Assembly of the bill "creating a tax on digital services and modifying the trajectory of corporate tax reduction".

On Tuesday 9th April, members of the Parliament adopted the first part of the text introducing a 3% tax on:

  • advertising targeting services; and
  • digital intermediation services, including online marketplaces.

The businesses concerned are those for which, regardless of their place of establishment, the amount collected in counterpart of taxable services exceeds in a calendar year:

  • 750 M€ as regards to the services carried out worldwide; and
  • 25 M€ as regards to the services carried out in France.

A specific rule connecting the tax with the national territory is provided for since the worldwide revenues generated by each service will be taxed proportionally to the part of French Internet users as regards to all users of this service.

For the record, this tax is not intended to be perennial, as France is waiting for a pending harmonised decision within the OECD on the taxation of digital services, which the French Minister of Finance hopes to achieve by 2020.

However, there are still many uncertainties. They notably concern the retroactivity of this measure from the beginning of 2019 and its compatibility with the already existing "Youtube" tax.


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