Facebook has reached an agreement with the French tax authorities: it will pay 104 million euros for the revenues generated in France in the period from 2009 to 2018 (in 2019 the local Web Tax came into force). To be precise, part of this figure, € 22 million, represents other penalties. This is in summary what the French financial newspaper says Capital, who says he has seen official internal documents. Facebook France confirmed, although it said it paid 106 million, not 104. In any case, understandably, the accounts of the French division of the Zuckerberg firm went deep in the red.
Tax investigations on Facebook have been underway in France since 2012. The dispute always focuses on the same issue – web giants pay taxes in European tax havens, such as Ireland, where withholdings are much lower, even for turnover generated in other countries. The mechanism is 100% legal, but it is one of those cases in which many consider the law to be wrong – or at least obsolete. For some time it has been trying to agree on a new law valid worldwide that is able to fairly manage the taxation of large internet companies, which are able to reach virtually every part of the world in a few moments, but for now the progress made it is almost nil.
Not even the EU itself is able to reach a stable agreement – not least because the states benefiting from the current situation, such as Ireland and the Netherlands, have every interest in maintaining the status quo. And, it is worth pointing out, it is not a matter of two small coins: a study of some time ago estimates that Google alone saved 3 billion euros in taxes in Europe … in 2016 alone. Google which, among other things, recently made an agreement with France to pay 1 billion euros in back taxes.