FRENCH PRESIDENT Nicolas Sarkozy said he wants large internet firms to pay taxes in France.
Sarkozy's "internet giant" tax proposal is aimed at firms like Google, Facebook and Twitter. He told Le Point Magazine, "It is unacceptable that they have a turnover of several billion Euros in France without paying tax." Sarkozy added that the French government should also consider taxing online advertising revenues.
Not surprisingly, Google wasn't particularly happy with Sarkozy's comments, telling AFP, "The Internet offers a wonderful opportunity to generate growth and jobs in France." The firm also referred to a report that claims internet firms contributed €60bn to the French economy in 2009, adding, "This positive contribution would have a better chance of coming about in an environment that is supportive of the web in France and of investment in the sector. Public policy should support this."
Sarkozy's comments came has he prepared to meet with Twitter's founder, Jack Dorsey. The two were meeting for Sarkozy to try to get Dorsey's firm to base its European headquarters in France.
Although Dorsey's company is a social media darling, it isn't known for making much money. Google and Facebook on the other hand are known for their advertising business models and an internet advertising tax could be enough to turn them away from operating in France, not to mention basing their European headquarters there. µ