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State Secretary of Finance Fuchs: EU Finance Ministers should open the way for a digital tax Subtitle: Internet giants too must make a fair contribution to our tax system

Today, Friday, ahead of the ECOFIN Council meeting to be held on 4 December 2018 in Brussels, Austrian State Secretary of Finance Hubert Fuchs urged EU Finance Ministers to open the way for a digital tax. "Until now, major digital businesses and internet giants have not been making a fair contribution to our tax system, although they make profits in Austria. We want to change this, since the current legal position is unfair. Within the framework of the Austrian Council presidency, under Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Löger, a proposal on digital tax has been devised and the way has been opened to achieving a compromise. It would be regrettable if individual countries were to block possible agreement within the ECOFIN Council," declared State Secretary Fuchs, targeting those countries still with their foot on the brake.

State Secretary Fuchs notes that digital companies currently pay on average an effective rate of just 8–9% tax, in contrast to a figure of 23% in traditional economic sectors. "Profits need to be taxed where added value is generated. Within the framework of the EU Council Presidency, the Austrian Ministry of Finance has undertaken some excellent work in order to establish the basis for a final agreement. Now that the legal clarifications have also been obtained, it is now a question of political will. We need a clear commitment by Member States in order to be able to take concerted action," stressed Fuchs.

Fuchs pointed out that the proposal, which will be presented on Tuesday, only provides for taxation of large undertakings with strong sales, and this therefore ensures that smaller start-ups and scale-up businesses will not suffer. In the event that no agreement is reached at EU level,  Fuchs, as well as the Austrian Finance Minister, also envisage interim national legislation, for instance by extending advertising tax to online business, in order to enable fair taxation of internet giants.

30 November 2018