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Boris Johnson Affirms Plan To Tax Facebook, Google Despite Trump Retaliation

Elizabeth Balboa

At the risk of provoking U.S. President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated his intent to tax U.S. internet companies if his Conservative Party wins the national election this month.

“On the digital services tax, I do think we need to look at the operation of the big digital companies and the huge revenues they have in this country and the amount of tax that they pay,” Johnson said Tuesday at the NATO summit. “We need to sort that out. They need to make a fairer contribution.”

According to a proposal pitched last year, the UK would collect a 2% tax on money made domestically for companies touting more than $640 million in global annual revenue.

The tax would strike Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) — each of which appeared unfazed by the threat.

Why It’s Important For France, Internet Companies

France approved its own 3% tax on internet companies in July and actually backdated the policy to the start of 2019. On Tuesday, Trump threatened punitive tariffs of up to 100% on $2.4 billion of French imports, including cheese, Champagne and handbags.

“We’ve taxed wine and we have other taxes scheduled,” Trump said before the NATO summit. “We’d rather not do that, but that’s the way it would work. So it’s either going to work out, or we’ll work out some mutually beneficial tax.”

The U.S. has warned peer states of similar retaliatory measures if they pursue their own versions of France’s policy. Spain, Italy and Austria have announced their own levies.

The tax would take effect in April 2020, but its implementation depends on the Conservative Party’s performance in the Dec. 12 elections. Notably, the Labour Party has also pledged to tax multinational corporations, which limits the number of election outcomes favorable to the U.S.

Related Links:

Did France Blink After Trump's Vow To Tax Wine 'Like They've Never Seen Before'?

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