The European Union is pushing ahead with plans to levy a turnover tax on internet and technology companies, according to Reuters.
It believes that the new tax would see major international technology companies pay between two per cent and six per cent of their revenues in taxes - a departure from the established norm of levying corporate taxes purely on profits.
The move, though, could spark a sharp response from President Trump given that it will be overwhelmingly US companies that are targeted by the new levy.
Nevertheless, speaking to a newspaper recently, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire revealed that the European Commission is still looking to implement the new tax.
However, he explained that it is likely to be closer to two per cent - at least to begin with - rather than six per cent. The aim is to ensure that companies such as Apple and Google pay what the EU regards as their fair share of tax throughout Europe.
"A European directive will be disclosed in the coming weeks. It will be a considerable step. The (tax rate) range is two per cent to six per cent [but] we will be closer to two per cent than six per cent," he said.
In the interview with Le Journal du Dimanche, he was asked if this tax rate was modest. He responded by claiming that it is "a starting point".
Le Maire said the tax would likely be tweaked in the future - ie: increased. "I prefer a text that will be implemented very quickly rather than endless negotiations. We will fine tune it later," he said.
After coming across a draft European Commission document detailing the plans, Reuters reported that officials had also been exploring a tax option that focuses on the location of companies.
But the document proposed a far smaller levy rate: between one per cent to five per cent. Just like the new plans, this previously seen document detailed a tax based on a company's "aggregated gross revenues".
Over the past few years, US technology and internet-based companies, such as Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google, have been heavily criticised by EU politicians for not paying what they regard as sufficient levels of tax.
Apple, for example, was in dispute for a long time with the European Union over its low corporate tax rate in Ireland, through which it legally channelled EU revenues. On top of that, though, the Irish government also gave the company tax relief as part of its policies to encourage inward investment.
A spokesperson for Apple said: "The Commission's case against Ireland has never been about how much Apple pays in taxes, it's about which government gets the money.
"The United States government and the Irish government both agree we've paid our taxes according to the law."
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