This tax, applicable from 2019, would affect companies with a turnover of more than 750 million euros worldwide and 25 million euros in France.
A "Specific bill" on a tax that will affect companies offering digital services in France will be presented "In the Council of Ministers by the end of February", announced the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire, in an interview with Sunday newspaper.
This project "Will be quickly put to the vote of Parliament", he added, adding that the tax would affect "All companies with sales of more than 750 million euros worldwide and 25 million euros in France". "If these two criteria are not met, they will not be imposed", he said.
"The fee will be applicable from 1st January 2019, and its rate will be modulated according to the turnover with a maximum of 5%. It should bring in about 500 million euros »he continued. Taxation of digital services including GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) is "A major challenge of the XXIe century " and "A question of justice and efficiency"said the minister.
A national tax pending a European agreement
If France decided to act without waiting for a consensus at the European level, Mr. Mayor has however considered that an agreement of this type was still possible "By the end of March", pointing out that France supported a European proposal made by the French Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Pierre Moscovici.
"There are still some hesitant countries. We made a compromise offer in December with Germany and I am convinced that an agreement is now at hand by the end of March. A few months away from the European elections, our citizens would not understand that we are giving up. ", he explained.
In mid-December, the French government, seeking revenue to finance the social measures announced by President Emmanuel Macron, announced that it would tax from 1st January the digital giants, without waiting for a possible agreement within the European Union. This decision had meant a change of strategy, Mr Le Mayor having defended, without success, the adoption of a tax at the European level on the digital giants.
Similar initiatives in the UK and Singapore
Ireland, Denmark and Sweden had clearly opposed a tax on 3% of the turnover of the digital giants. Germany, for its part, did not like it either, for fear of American retaliation against its car industry.
Initiatives to tax GAFA and other digital giants have already been taken at the national level in several countries, such as the United Kingdom and Singapore. In Italy, at the end of last year, MEPs voted a tax on internet transactions, but the law will not finally come into force.
In Spain, the government of Socialist Pedro Sanchez passed a bill on Friday to create a 3% tax on revenues generated by certain activities of digital giants such as GAFA. But it is not certain that the Spanish bill will never be voted, as the government does not have a majority in Parliament.