Commissioner Vestager: EU to push again for digital tax plan

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager speaking at Trinity College Dublin today. Photo: Maxwells Photography/PA

The European Commission will continue to press for an EU-wide digital tax on the basis all companies in Europe should be treated fairly, competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has said.

The digital tax proposal — which the Irish Government and a number of Nordic countries, including her home country Denmark, have opposed — was “very much alive” among some member states and would promote fair competition between digital companies and more traditional companies, Ms Vestager said.

The commission “will keep pushing and putting the arguments on the table as to why this is a good idea to see whether solutions can be found”, she told reporters after speaking at a students’ event at TCD in Dublin.

The commission first formally advanced its digital tax proposal almost a year ago, arguing it would promote a level playing field for all European companies. It has been strongly resisted by the Irish Government, as well as Denmark and Sweden.

Like the common consolidated tax base before it, the Government fears the proposed tax would undermine the basis of Ireland’s corporate tax regime.

The French government, in particular, has been a strong proponent of the digital tax, and its Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has continued to press the case in recent weeks.

The UK and Spain also plan to introduce some form of digital taxation.

Asked whether she supported a minimum rate of corporation tax across the EU, Ms Vestager said a common corporation tax base would minimise unfair tax competition.

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