Sputnik was keen to learn about public opinion in Europe and the United States on proposed levies on Silicon Valley giants.
As part of a survey conducted for Sputnik by IFop – France’s oldest polling agency – a total of 4,000 people were polled in France, Germany, the UK and the US between 9 and 15 April 2019. All were over 18 years of age.
The poll revealed that the majority of Brits, Germans and French, as well as just over half of Americans, consider it necessary to subject companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon to additional taxes.
In France, where a tax on the Big Tech called GAFA is already in place, 79 per cent of respondents supported the introduced levies, while only 13 per cent opposed them.
Supporters of the tax accounted for 72 per cent in Germany and 71 per cent in the UK. Opinions appeared more divided in the US, where 53 per cent were in favour of more taxes on the tech giants and 33 per cent spoke out against them.
It was revealed that in the three European nations, the proposal to slap additional taxes on Facebook, Google and Amazon was more popular among men than women and people over 35 were also more likely to support the taxes than younger respondents.
In the United States, people under 35 appeared more supportive of the proposal than older participants.
Democrats were also found to be more interested in the tax overhaul than Republicans. Differences were also noted along religious lines, with more Catholics approving of the tax than Protestants.
After months of negotiations, the European Union in March abandoned plans for a digital tax on big US corporations following objections from some countries, including Ireland, Malta, and the three Baltic states, which offer attractive low-tax regimes to tech businesses.
Despite the failure of plans to broker an EU-wide agreement, France has gone ahead with its own 3-per cent levy. The new tax, called "GAFA" after the corporations it targets (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) affects tech companies with revenues of more than 750 million euros ($850 million) worldwide and at least 25 million euros ($28 million) in France. The French government believes it could raise as much as €500 million per year. Spain, Italy and the UK are expected to follow suit in the near future.
The United States had earlier called the new taxes "ill-conceived" and "discriminatory" and threatened to fight them at the World Trade Organisation. Washington now supports the efforts of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to reach consensus on an international agreement, that should set minimum global corporate tax rates by the end of 2020.
Paris said it was ready to replace its national tax with an OECD-brokered solution if it applies to digital businesses. “There is really a clear commitment from France that as soon as there is a solution at the OECD level, we will get rid of the national solution,” France's Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told Bloomberg in April.
“I just want to make clear that there must be taxation on digital activities,” he was quoted as saying. “I mean on profits made on data. So there are many technical options, but France is advocating for very strong and convincing solutions, in which we can say, well, there is fair and efficient taxation on profits made on data.”