THANKS FOR contacting me for an update on the international corporate-tax landscape. For global tech firms like yours, the headlines make worrying reading. A fragile transatlantic truce has been shattered. France has resumed collecting the digital-services tax it introduced in 2019, targeting tech firms (and catching others in the net). The outgoing Trump administration has lined up retaliatory tariffs on $1.3bn of posh French handbags, cosmetics and more, ready to pull the trigger. If America acts, the European Union may strike back against American products of equivalent value.
America complains that national tech taxes unfairly target its digital giants. It had better get used to them. Such levies, typically 2-3% of local sales, are spreading as governments try to claw back taxing rights lost in a dysfunctional global system. Among those joining France in implementing or mulling a digital tax are Brazil, Britain, India and Italy. An EU-wide version has been mooted.
You don’t need me to tell you that this is just one front on which big tech is being assailed, alongside alleged anticompetitive behaviour, the handling of user data and the policing of speech. Employees are growing restless, too. I imagine you saw this week’s news from across town about Alphabet’s geeks forming a union.
Amid this onslaught, it is…