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Austria Prepares to Tax Large Tech Companies

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Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz has announced that the country plans to impose a digital tax on large tech companies, including the FAANG group of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. The proposal comes on the heels of France adopting a similar tax, after the European Union failed to finalise a union-wide levy. The Austrian tax is reportedly set to come into effect by 2020. “It is only fair that Internet giants in Europe pay a proper amount of tax,” Kurz said, according to a statement. “In addition to a EU-wide move, we’ll also act on a national level. We will introduce a digital tax in Austria.” Kurtz said that EU member states “agree in principle that there is a need for such a tax.” This sentiment, popular among European heads of state, is based on a revelation by the European Commission that large tech companies are paying less than half the tax imposed on traditional companies. The European Commission estimates that multinational tech companies pay roughly 9% on average, compared to the 23% that traditional companies pay. Austria’s Kurz said finance minister, Hartwig Loeger, is in the middle of  “working out the details and their implementation and will unveil the basic framework at the beginning of January”.