back to article Oh, those crazy Frenchies: Facebook faces family photo tax in France

Facebook should pay the French government for hosting the holiday photos and status updates of the French people, a new report commissioned by the French government has suggested. The new 200-page report* on taxing the digital economy - commissioned by four French Cabinet Ministers - proposes that France should tax data …

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Devil

Great Idea

I can see nothing at all that will go wrong with this plan. Not a thing. It is a perfect solution which will be implemented without incident.

Vive la France!

*cough*

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Re: Great Idea

Absolutely. After all, it's easy to identfy photos of French holidaymakers. Or maybe not...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9170719/French-tourism-campaign-uses-photographs-of-South-African-beach.html

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I'm impressed

As has been pointed out that with Google, Facebook etc, we're the product, so the idea of taxing these companies for the work we do (i.e. increasing their data store and therefore the value of the companies) is very attractive.

No doubt the companies concerned though will pay for expensive lawyers to tie it up in the courts for ever and a day, and then weasel accountants to point out that the data is actually added in Ulan Bator therefore it doesn't count as work in France, and the companies will continue to export their profits and import losses.

Zut alors, or more likely, merde alors.

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Facepalm

Re: I'm impressed

We are the product. fine. so why should there be a special tax?

You tax apple growers when they sell their apples, not when they take them from the tree.

the french would tax mud.

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Coat

Re: I'm impressed

"Let them tax cake!"

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Alert

Re: I'm impressed

That would be "gateau", mon ami.

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Trollface

Re: I'm impressed

Le gâteau est un mensonge!

If you tax it, it can no longer be found.

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Re: I'm impressed

Brioche, if we're referencing Marie Antoinette's question.

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Joke

Re: the french would tax mud.

If I were a pig, I'd tax mud.

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Re: I'm impressed

You are being compensated through free access to their products.

There's no problem with that. If you don't like it just don't use the services. You certainly aren't forced to use ANY of the free services out there.

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"You tax apple growers when they sell their apples, not when they take them from the tree."

Pretty sure that the apple growers wouldn't be able to move all their apples to Switzerland (or wherever it is that facebook chooses to do business from) before selling them.

Besides which, wages (and Income Tax) would constitute collecting revenue on picking the apples.

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FAIL

Re: I'm impressed

At least they're trying to think of ways to squeeze back some of the billions spirited away by those canny (mainly North American?) Internet companies.

We just say harsh words to their employees at a select committee hearing. That'll teach 'em!

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Re: I'm impressed

Saying "If you don't like it just don't use the services" is comparable to saying if you don't like driving laws, then don't drive. 100 years ago, driving might have been a privilege and an unnecessary luxury of the well-to-do, but that is no longer the case. Unless you live in an urban area, in order to be competitive in current times, to gain a job, to keep that job, and to buy food you need to be able to drive. Legally it still considered a privilege, and not a right. But could any first world country survive at its current level of output and sustainability if all the automobiles were removed? Of course not, too much of our current social processes have been built on the assumption of the ability to drive as a default. The internet is the same thing. We have ingrained too much of our personal and professional processes of our lives on the assumption that the ability to communicate via the internet is a given. Without that standard in place, it would herald a complete restructuring of present first world society.

Therefore you can't just say "if yer don't like da interweb rulez, then jus don't use it like"

MORE TO THE POINT about your comment on google and free content:

First, there is no escaping google. Google collects information about you personal details, and your habits through sites that have no connection of ownership to google. Run Ghostery, and allow the blocker bubble to be visible, then surf around and see just how many seemingly random sites are collecting information for google. So to "not use google" would be like not using the internet.

Second, free content does not warrant free rape of anything and everything in return. Google is free because it has to be, not in exchange for user data. If google started charging membership fees, its usage would dry up and it would collapse. Google may rattle is saber all it wants about how it NEEDS to pimp out your data in order to pay its bills all it wants. But its obvious that a free for user model is its only available business model. Its profits may be reduced if increased user protections were put in place, but they wouldn't go starving.

In summation:

You're a moron. And your argument is even more moronic.

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Re: Marie Antoinette

According to QI, it wasn't she who said it, it was around before she was born.

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Re: "You tax apple growers when they sell their apples, not when they take them from the tree."

They wouldn't need to send them abroad - they are already paid for by CAP subsidy!

William

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Anonymous Coward

Tax Laws

I though the general consensus on http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/22/hmrc_foi/ (and the raft of comments saying how the UK couldnt make new tax laws etc) was that countries cant decide to make new tax laws? (rather than the explicit statement that countries cant lower taxes below a minimum threshold which the legislation seems to state)

Is this different now?

Confused, Tonbridge Wells.

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Headmaster

Re: Tax Laws

"Confused, Tonbridge Wells" . Is that Royal Tunbridge Wells, or Tonbridge?

Confused, London

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It may be crazy...

...but if these greedy tax avoiding companies actually paid a fair amount in the first place then the craziness wouldn't be needed.

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Bod

Re: It may be crazy...

If you had a little business selling stuff on (for example) ebay and some of the buyers were in France, you wouldn't expect to pay French corporation tax despite being located in the UK and legally paying all UK taxes!

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FAIL

Re: Mahatma Coat - It may be crazy...

"...but if these greedy tax avoiding companies actually paid a fair amount in the first place then the craziness wouldn't be needed." So who gets to say what is "fair"? An impartial expert on commerce, or some dozy European socialist politician that needs to fund the latest bailout for Greece due to the vote-buying policies of said socialist politicians? It's pretty obvious from your previous posts that you think the latter is just fine as it is a "greedy", capitalist, Yankee company doing the paying.

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Mushroom

Re: What is fair?

What is fair is that these fat bastards pay the same amount of fucking tax that you or I do. If corporations are going to have the rights of human beings, they can damn well accept the responsibilities that go with them.

Living in Australia, I pay 16 - 20% of my salary in income tax, without even considering the 11% GST I pay on everything I buy. The article states that the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple make around 2.5 to 3 billion euro a year and pay an average tax of only 4 million euro. That's 0.13 to 0.16 percent tax.

I earn just enough to live on, and I'm paying a fifth of my salary in tax. These fat "greedy capitalists" you refer to make more than they know what to do with, and they're paying LESS THAN A FUCKING HUNDREDTH of that.

If that sounds fair to you, I can only say that would make you someone I'd never want to meet.

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Re: It may be crazy...

NOBODY expects the... never mind!

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Re: Mahatma Coat - It may be crazy...

>So who gets to say what is "fair"?

That's what governments are for.

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Re: Steve Dopier Re: What is fair?

"What is fair is that these fat bastards pay the same amount of fucking tax that you or I do....." Sorry if no-one explained it to you, but the employees of those "fat bastard capitalist companies" actually pay income tax on their earnings just like everyone else, and the top bods pay MORE tax than you because they are on higher rates of tax than you. The shareholders pay tax when they liquidate their share holdings, and the companies pay tax on stuff they purchase (such as buildings, etc.) with the profits they make. So quit repeating the dogma you've been spoonfed, it's just the vitriolic politics of envy. In the case of the UK:

"The top 1% of income earners in the Uk pay 28% of the total income tax take. As they earn 13% of all the income, that means they pay twice as big a share of the tax as their share of the income. The bottom half of all earners in the UK pay 10% of the total income tax. The sum they pay in total is less than the amount paid out in Housing Benefit, which goes to this wide group of people."

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FAIL

Re: Steve Dopier What is fair?

I'd respond to your post, Matt, if I believed you capable of understanding the response. But the last time somebody mangled my surname in a pathetic insult like that was when I was 12. Fucking grow up.

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FAIL

Re: Even Dopier Re: Steve Dopier What is fair?

"I'd respond to your post, Matt, if I believed you capable of understanding the response...." What, Socialist Weekly doesn't have a section on dealing with objections? Oh, I forgot, you're not allowed to object or have an opinion of your own amongst The Herd Of The Faithful. We really need a sheeple icon for the deluded like you that can only unquestioningly bleat what they are told to bleat.

"....But the last time somebody mangled my surname in a pathetic insult like that was when I was 12....." That was probably the last time you mixed with someone that had an opinion of their own. TBH, I'm rather disappointed, I've always found Aussies I've met to be a bit too motivated and capable for the socialist mantra, but then I suppose that just goes to show the ones with the ability have long-since left Oz.

"......Fucking grow up." Or what, you'll thream and thream until you go blue? Looks like there is zero chance of you actually posting any form of coherent argument so here's to your imminent self-Smurfing. If you wish to be shown any respect try posting something to add to the discussion rather than the new chorus from the green-eyed monster uberloser set.

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does that mean

I can put google and facebook on my CV as employers?

this seems a rather silly way to grab some cash

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Re: I'm sorry...

Or, they might just ignore it.

Any French judge would need the very best of luck to get any Google employee of note sent across the Atlantic.

I don't think actually blocking it would work either - someone would quickly coin the phrase "Maginot Firewall" as the blocks are sidestepped easily.

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JDX
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Re: I'm sorry...

Why would companies leave France if they are still making profit after the new taxes?

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Happy

Re: I'm sorry...

czsaloco writes; "If France keeps this up they'll find themselves shut off to the modern world as companies refuse to talk to them anymore"

That is probably what the french government raelly want - it would halt the dilution of the french language/culture/way of life/values etc.

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Re: I'm sorry...

Why would companies leave France if they are still making profit after the new taxes?

Because if France get away with it, then other tax-loving countries (like ours) will follow suit. Our public are currently acting in a fashion that seems demented to me; flat out demanding taxation from the government. They could totally put this into action here.

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Linux

Re: I'm sorry...

This has already happened in the low-cost airline sector.

A couple of years ago, St. Michael of O'Leary closed Paddyair's bases in France because the French Govt. went after Ryanair's staff employment contracts which I understand were drafted under Irish law. Several, until then, very lucrative and useful internal routes were lost, as were local jobs, and of course, nos amis francaises had to revert to travelling on the relatively expensive TGV. (owned by the French Govt.) Unlike, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Romania where there are excellent networks of intercity bus routes, there are very few or none, within France. Consequently, if you look at a map of low-cost flight/travel routes in France, they are, in the majority, from French airports to external destinations. Compared with the rest of Europe, France, internally, is like a big black hole.

That is what is going to happen with the web in France if they carry on with this proposal. I have no problems about Governments' seeking reasonable tax revenues, but the Elysee has really got to understand that the time has come to open up the French digital (and general) economy, or more and more potential investors will avoid the country like the plague and existing ones will close down operations.

L'affaire Depardieu has already proved that!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm sorry...

ref. excellent intercity bus routes in Germany, they don't exist. They're nearly extinct. Yeah, you see an occasional Eurolines coach sneaking along a motorway, from Poland to the UK, but that's about it. Ah, well, plus those coach services operated by Deutsche Bahn, natuerlich!

As to Romania... well, it's a country with a stunning scenery, but modern roads and modern long-distance coaches are not something they would have plenty of :)

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Re: I'm sorry...

useful internal routes were lost

But if it's Ryanair then a flight from say Paris to Marseilles probably took and landed at Calais.

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WTF?

Re: I'm sorry...

This govt. tax multinationals - as if.

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Re: FaceBook has chosen to not be unavailable in your country

so what's the problem?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm sorry...

Ryanair's behaviour is (fortunately or otherwise) not normally an indicator of how sane, rational companies behave.

If I was running a company making $2bn a year in France, and the French government passed a law increasing my tax burden from £50m to £500m, I would still be making £1.5bn profit and I hope any attempt I made to close down this massive profit stream by leaving the country would be blocked by the board and I would be shipped off to a lunatic asylum.

It wouldnt even matter if other countries joined in as long as the profit of doing business in that country remained, it would be sensible to remain.

Now if the French tax impacted my ability to make profit in (for example) Germany, then it would be another matter - however, this doesnt appear to be what the French are proposing.

The reverse of the argument is true - the French government are faced with providing national infrastructure and support to a company that retains a significant proportion of its profits off-shore and out of the hands of the country providing it. So, from France's point of view, it may be a valid argument that if Amazon (or whoever) leaves, the resulting black hole will be filled by local companies who pay more in taxes - Amazon (or whoever) leaving ends up being a net benefit to the economy, if not directly to the public who may well pay more for some items.

The services Amazon (and the rest) provide are massively profitable so it makes sense for local providers to pick up the slack when they sulk and stop doing business in France. Some may even develop enough skill and local support that they can then challenge Amazon (and the rest) elsewhere.

BTW: In reality, if intercity flight routes in France were lucrative, other airlines would have picked them up by now and be making good money. The sad fact is they were only lucrative by shafting the employees and passengers.

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Why would companies leave France

To set an example?

They don't want every other country to copy the tax. What they lost in France would be less then what it would cost if other countries copy the tax.

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Childcatcher

Re: I'm sorry...

they can always switch back to Minitel...

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Boffin

Re: I'm sorry...

"Our public are currently acting in a fashion that seems demented to me; flat out demanding taxation from the government. "

Quite the opposite. The public is demanding that their taxation be reduced by collecting the missing billions from multi-nationals using fraudulent companies. Every penny Vodafone avoids is a penny we have to pay in their place.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Tom 35

They don't want every other country to copy the tax. What they lost in France would be less then what it would cost if other countries copy the tax.

Not necessarily.

If they are still profitable in each country, then it doesnt matter.

If other countries copy the tax, they can treat each country on a case by case basis and decide if it worth staying. If it isn't they leave and local businesses try to fill the gap.

There is no automatic right to succeed or trade just because the company is an internet giant.

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Re: I'm sorry...

They would leave because even if they still made a profit, they could likely make more of a profit elsewhere, for the same effort. There comes a time where taxes are high enough that it is just not worth the effort to continue to work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm sorry...

They would leave because even if they still made a profit, they could likely make more of a profit elsewhere, for the same effort. There comes a time where taxes are high enough that it is just not worth the effort to continue to work.

Not sure that makes sense.

Try it with the numbers.

If they can make 2bn euros in France while paying 50m tax, they are making 1.95bn profit. If the tax rises to 500m they would be making 1.5bn profit.

If they can make 1.5001bn profit elsewhere, then why not do that as well as get the 1.5bn profit in France. This isnt an argument for shutting down a massively profitable service.

The whole point of these webservice companies is that they can deliver services for the same costs anywhere so the effort of working in France is effectively transparent when it is related to working in (say) Portugal, Spain, Holland, Thailand etc.

Profit is profit. Less profit is still more than no profit.

Now if the tax was 2.000001bn euros then, of course, they would cease operating in France. But I havent seen that suggested.

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Linux

Re: I'm sorry...

Regards Romania, I have to disagree!

Have been there and used such services. (Roads are another story!) Point being there are plenty low cost transport services to choose from.

As regards Germany, I would have agreed with your comments until a few days ago when I came across:

https://www.berlinlinienbus.de

http://www.deinbus.de/

http://www.reisebus24.de/

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Re: I'm sorry...

Unlike, the UK, ... where there are excellent networks of intercity bus routes, there are very few or none, within France.

I can't speak for France but this idea that the UK has excellent bus links is hilarious. Well done you!

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Happy

Re: sabroni Re: FaceBook has chosen to not be unavailable in your country

Seeing as Facesbook is about the same as digital pollution I'd be quite happy if it got killed off in the UK.

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idTGV

There is a low-cost version of TGV. You can only book tickets online, and they can be as cheap as 20 euros all-in. No extra charges for baggage or the cheek of actually trying to pay with a card. And, of course, you arrive in the town you actually want to go to.

Ryanair no loss.

-A.

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Re: I'm sorry...

"BTW: In reality, if intercity flight routes in France were lucrative, other airlines would have picked them up by now and be making good money. The sad fact is they were only lucrative by shafting the employees and passengers."

Some have, others have gone to heavily subsidized TGV routes, so only the French taxpayer gets shafted.

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Re: @ Tom 35

> There is no automatic right to succeed or trade just because the company is an internet giant.

I was with you right until that point.

In this case, they are talking about increasing the tax burden of one particular type of company because the government has decided that they don't pay enough tax. I know if I was a wine maker and the government decided to increase the tax they take from wine makers specifically by a factor of 10, I would be pretty miffed. It smacks of victimisation which is really outside the remit of any government, although they do do it from time to time.

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