Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), say many in Europe, are two mega companies that have successfully (thought legally) skated through and around European Union taxation laws and have not paid their “fair share” of taxes to the Union over the last several years. And with the economic situation continuing to look bleak for the whole of the EU, there are individual states within the EU that are trying to take matters into their own hands by cleaning up and tightening taxation rules so that some of the money these companies make in these countries can begin to be paid back.
In some countries, they are tightening existing laws for companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) don’t fall through the legal cracks. Other countries, like France, are considering proposals that include new taxes that will serve as a net to catch these multinational companies that fall through the initial cracks. In the case of France, for example, President Francois Hollande is mulling over a proposal that would impost a “culture tax” on multinational companies like Apple and Google that do business in France, with this “culture tax” going to pay for cultural projects in the country, which it believes should be paid for by revenues not dictated by “market forces.”
Hm. Wouldn’t a tax imposed on companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) establish “market forces,” just by their inherent nature? But we digress. Hollande is apparently in the offing to have the Parliament consider various topics of legislation to provide more revenue for the government, especially for cultural projects in the country – namely, art, movies and music. Currently, television users, radio and television networks and Internet service providers pay these types of taxes, while companies like Apple, Google and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) have thus far been exempt from paying.
However, as these companies make devices that allow users to view TV or movie content, browse the Internet and listen to music and some radio stations through live streams, the approach may be re-considered. “Companies that make these tablets must, in a minor way, be made to contribute part of the revenue from their sales to help creators,” said French culture minister Aurelie Filipetti. This new move against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is just the latest – it follows just a few days after the French government intervened and blocked the purchase of French video-clip firm Dailymotion by Yahoo! Inc (NASDAQ:YHOO), a move that angered the parent company of Dailymotion and raised some questions as to how much control the government should have in the economy. Should the government be able to step in and block sales by private firms?
We’d like your thoughts about this proposal and whether you think it has legs. And if so, how do you see this affecting Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) – and even Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) – in the French market? Give us your feedback in the comments section below.