Austria wants to impose tax on internet giants’ advertising revenues


Austria’s federal government has proposed levying a tax of as much as five percent on advertising revenue of big-tech corporations like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Alibaba.

The tax, which is much higher than the levy proposed by France earlier this year, is aimed at preventing the “unfairness” of internet giants that have routed their sales via subsidiary units in EU members with a low taxation base, according to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, as cited by AFP.

The proposed levy will be applied to big internet corporations with annual worldwide revenue of at least €750 million ($843 million), of which at least €25 million ($28 million) is generated in Austria. The government is also planning to introduce mandatory registration for online booking platforms, such as home-sharing giant Airbnb.

In March, Paris announced a similar plan for the so-called GAFA tax, an acronym representing the US companies it targets: Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. The levy will impose a three-percent revenue tax on digital firms with global revenues above €750 million and above €25 million in France. The government expects to raise €500 million ($562 million) annually as a result of applying the levy retroactively from January 1, 2019.

According to Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Loeger, the country opted to impose a higher levy in order to get compensation for the years that internet giants avoided taxes. Similar tax schemes are currently being considered by other countries, including Britain, Spain, Japan, Singapore and India.



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