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France will tax tech giants in 2019 regardless of EU agreement

The bloc's finance ministers haven't agreed to a tax on digital revenues.

French flag hanging on an old house balcony during the
France is prepared to tax digital giants.
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

France will start taxing tech giants at a national level in 2019 if European Union countries can't agree on a joint tax on digital revenues.

Bruno Le Maire, France's finance minister, set a deadline Thursday after EU finance ministers failed to agree on a plan earlier this week, Reuters reported.

"I am giving myself until March to reach a deal on a European tax on digital giants," Le Maire told France 2, Reuters noted. "If it doesn't work out, we will do it at a national level, from 2019."

The plan, first unveiled in March, calls for a 3 percent tax on revenues earned by companies like Facebook and Google within the EU.

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Under current rules, those companies only pay tax in countries where they have a physical presence, even though they're offering services in other EU countries and making money from their citizens.

The tax plan needs support from all 28 EU nations, but has met resistance from Ireland -- a low-tax country benefiting from the current setup -- and some Nordic states, even after France and Germany offered a tweaked proposal centered only on online advertising revenues.

Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron won the support Microsoft, Facebook and Google in a push to make the internet more secure and trustworthy.

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