EU threatens to make U.S. tech companies pay higher taxes

By Eric DuVall  |  Sept. 21, 2017 at 11:56 AM
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Sept. 21 (UPI) -- European Union officials on Thursday threatened to impose higher taxes on technology companies in the United States, if other countries don't change agreements that govern international taxation.

Several EU member-states have been locked in lengthy court battles with a number of U.S. tech companies -- including Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon -- over sales and corporate taxes they say they are owed.

A European Commission report issued Thursday said global tech companies pay less than half of the taxes traditional brick-and-mortar EU-based businesses do. The report said that's largely because the tech companies lack the traditional headquarters of their competitors -- or locate European headquarters in nations like Ireland, which has a corporate tax rate much lower than most other member nations.

The report states tech companies accounted for one-third of EU revenue growth from 2008 to 2016, while traditional retail grew by just 1 percent.

EU tax chief Pierre Moscovici said the bloc would move to implement new tax statutes if the United States and other countries don't begin charging their online companies more, and share the windfall under existing international taxation agreements.

"The goal of this commission has always been to ensure that companies pay their fair share of tax where they generate profits," Moscovici said in a statement. "Digital firms make vast profits from their millions of users, even if they do not have a physical presence in the EU."

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