French government wants tax on digital devices and services

French government wants tax on digital devices and services

Paris is working on a tax which would make Apple, Samsung, Google and co pay contributions, to stimulate French culture. There are multiple proposals to be considered, among which a tax on smartphones, tablets, laptops, e-readers, internet TV’s and gaming consoles. Even taxes on content services such as iTunes and YouTube are not off the table.

TV and radio tax for devices and online services

“Some players in the digital world profit from films and other audio-visual works, but do not contribute to their financing. For a fair system it is necessary to close this fiscal hole”, says a 700 page report handed to French president Hollande by an advice committee led by former CEO of Canal+, Pierre Lescure.

 

Since the 1980’s French concert halls, television networks and radio stations have to deposit part of their profits on a big account, which is then used to subsidise the cultural sector. As consumers now are mainly downloading their music, films and television shows, that arrangement has to be altered to include digital players, says the committee.

 

They suggest a system that boils down to a sort of TV and radio tax for digital devices (that give the consumer access to culture) and for online content services (that deliver culture to the public).

 

86 million euro per year

The committee proposes a tax of 1% per sold device, which would amount to about 86 million euro per year. The committee does not say who will have to pay this tax, but it is not unlikely the consumer will have to foot the bill.

 

This tax would be added to the home copy tax already in use in France: “That tax on private copies is and will be essential to finance creativity, because it brings in 200 million euro each year,” says Pierre Lescure.

 

The government wants to incorporate the tax and other proposals of the committee in the budget proposal it has to submit to parliament for approval, but most certainly Apple, Samsung, Google and others will not let this happen without a decent fight.

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