According to a release published by the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council, there is a desire to implement a digital service tax based on the European Commission proposal as soon as possible, and that an agreement could be reached by the end of the year. The release follows informal meetings held 7 to 8 September.
The following is the text of the release concerning the tax, which, as proposed, would be a temporary tax levied at a rate of 3% on revenue from digital activities.
Commitment to a fair taxation of the digital economy and plan to deepen the Economic and Monetary Union
"Based on the European Commission proposal we want to implement a digital services tax as soon as possible", said Austrian Minister of Finance Hartwig Löger at the end of the second day of the informal meeting of economic and financial affairs ministers (Ecofin) in Vienna. He believes that it is realistic for an agreement to be reached by the end of this year.
The digital services tax means that digital activities in the member states will be taxed and it will apply to revenues from those activities in which users make a substantial contribution to the value added. According to the proposal of the European Commission, only those companies with minimum global revenues of 750 million euros or revenue within the EU of at least 50 million euros will be affected by the tax.
"There was broad support in the Council especially for preparing further measures against no-tax and low-tax systems. We want to make sure that the profit of big companies is taxed in a fair way and that there is an increase in the resulting revenue", said Hartwig Löger, who was pleased about the progress of the talks.
"From the discussion, it also became clear that we, the EU27, need to develop in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) an EU position with regard to this issue that is as united as possible", said Löger.
According to the Austrian Minister of Finance, this also underlines the position held by France and Germany, which have suggested a "sunset clause". This means that the digital services tax would be a temporary levy valid until an agreement has been reached on an international level.