Here's an interesting idea from some of our friends on the Continent. Everyone is actually obeying the law, the tax system is operating exactly as it was and is intended to do. Corporate taxes are indeed taxed where economic value is being added, yea even among the tech giants. Thus and therefore the law must be changed:
Paris and Berlin are mounting a joint offensive to tax internet giants such as Google and Amazon based on revenues generated in EU countries, a change that would wreak havoc with many technology groups’ business models in Europe.
The first and most obvious thing to point out is that revenue based taxes don't work that well. Sure, we've VAT but that's a consumption tax, not a turnover one. Among those tech giants for example Amazon makes very little profit over time. Apple a great deal. It's difficult to see how a tax on turnover applied at the same rate to both can be considered fair to anyone at all. And a variable rate for different companies does seem to violate that equality before the law thing.
A French government official said that a turnover tax, even levied at a low percentage, had the potential to deliver a tax take that was “orders of magnitude” higher than what European governments had managed to collect so far. It is envisaged that the tax could be set at somewhere between 2 and 5 per cent of turnover, the official said.
5% would wipe out the entire profits of many a company - both Amazon and Walmart included.
At which two more points. Firstly, the current tax system does in fact tax profits where they are "earned." It's entirely obvious that the value of the Apple brand, all that design work and so on, is created in Cupertino, thus any profits from that work should be taxed under whatever system applies there. Which is exactly what does happen at the moment.
Secondly, our Ministers gasping for tax revenue seem to have missed the very point upon which France just lost the Google case. Those ad sales do not take place in France, they take place in Ireland, that was the whole deciding fact of the case. What is this local revenue to which they refer?