France considers broad tax clampdown on web companies

The French government is discussing how to tax internet companies such as Google and Amazon both at the national and international levels, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.With government finances severely strained across Europe, France, Britain and Germany are intensifying efforts to clamp down on loopholes that allow big international companies to minimise their tax bills. see:Multinationals Find Loopholes Galore in Europe
Large multinationals, many of them based in the United States, are masters at avoiding taxes on profits made abroad. Apple, for example, paid just $100 million in taxes in 2010 on overseas profits of $13 billion. But Germany would like to put a stop to the practice, and is finding some influential support.Johannes Teyssen sees himself as a manager with a global outlook. The CEO of Düsseldorf-based energy giant E.on is proud of the fact that two-thirds of his revenues come from abroad. He also takes a global perspective when it comes to solving the major issues facing the future of his industry, from Germany’s shift to renewal energy to climate change. “Anyone who thinks in national terms is thinking too narrowly,” says Teyssen.But now that his company is also seeing lower profits, it makes sense that Teyssen is trying to improve E.on’s bottom line with international help. The energy giant is making the final preparations to transform itself into a European stock corporation (SE) next year. What is now a German joint-stock company is to become a European corporation. The transformation will provide the group with new options, and the advantages are not just limited to escaping Germany’s rigid rules granting employees a say in company management.

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