From the World Economic Forum in Davos, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called for a new global system of taxation, including a tax on digital giants, thereby ending a race to the bottom of driven by tax havens.
Le Maire said that France will make the case for global minimum corporate tax during its presidency of the G7 nation’s group this year.
“We need an effective minimum corporate tax in all developed countries,” the minister said, defending the notion that “fairer” capitalism and globalization is possible.
Le Maire made the case for a global tax that would also narrow the gap of the effective tax paid between small companies and multinational corporations. The proposal has the backing of financial justice activists but many countries are unwilling to relinquish attractive tax rates as part of their value proposition.
According to a recent OECD report, average corporate tax rates around the world have dropped to 21,7%, while there are twelve jurisdictions with zero rates, including the British territories of Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man, and the British Virgin Islands.
Pointing to the yellow vest movement, Le Maire said that the problem was urgent, arguing that this was a crisis of capitalism that “no longer meets the requirements of the people.” “We will put on the table the idea of a fair tax on Internet giants,” Le Maire said.
The European Commission proposed in December a 3% tax on digital revenue, alleging the companies funnelled profit through states with the lowest tax rates. That proposal was, however, met with resistance in several EU countries that benefit from allowing multinationals to book profits there on digital sales to customers elsewhere in the European Union.