It looks like the EU is desperat for that digital tax booty, so desperate, in fact, that their willing to run afowl of the United States. The talk around Brussels is that the owners and managers of the EU coercive enterprise are looking into new tax schemes that will target online giants like Google and Facebook. Super fantastic news if you enjoy being pilfered by bureaucratic bundlers in distant lands. It’s good to be the bureaucrat, but it’s not so good to be the one that has to pay for the latest govpreneur scheme.
The European Commission said on Thursday it may seek to implement tax reform to raise more revenue from online giants without the backing of the United States and other rich nations, in a move that could spark a new transatlantic dispute.
The EU is frustrated at how long it is taking the world’s rich nations to reach a deal on how to tax online firms like Google (GOOGL.O) fairly. These companies on average pay bills in Europe that are less than half of those of other firms.
To prevent some smaller EU economies such as Ireland or Luxembourg, which host many foreign online businesses, from blocking the move, the commission is also raising the prospect of using little-known EU rules that would prevent states from vetoing decisions on tax matters. Usually the EU decides on tax issues only with the unanimous support of its 28 members.
The commission on Thursday outlined three options for taxes aimed at internet companies that could be agreed upon relatively quickly at the EU level or by a smaller group of EU nations.
One was for a tax on the turnover rather than the profits of digital firms, another would put a levy on online ads, and a third would impose a withholding tax on payments to internet firms.