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France: Update on digital services tax; enactment anticipated

France: Update on digital services tax

Enactment of a digital services tax in France is expected soon, now that differences in the legislation passed by each chamber of parliament have been resolved.

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Digital services tax, status update

The French government in March 2019 proposed a digital services tax. Read TaxNewsFlash

Both chambers of the French Parliament debated the proposal.

  • The National Assembly (lower house) on 9 April 2019 passed legislation for a digital services tax. The wording of the bill is substantially similar to the government’s proposal.
  • The Senate (the upper house) in May 2019 amended the bill with regard to several important features—including a measure imposing a time limit (that is, a sunset clause) on the digital services tax.
  • A “conference committee” (Commission Mixte Paritaire) composed equally of members of both the Senate and the National Assembly, met last night (Wednesday 26 July 2019) to resolve the differences in the two versions of the legislation.

It has been reported that the conference committee members were able to find a “common position.” No further discussion will be held on this bill. It is now expected that the National Assembly will simply adopt the common position on 4 July 2019, to be followed by the Senate on 11 July 2019.

Once the bill is passed by the two chambers, a minimum of 60 deputies and senators may submit the bill to the constitutional court for examination of the legislation’s constitutionality before enactment. However, it would appear that submitting the bill to the court for approval would be unlikely, given the political consensus reached last evening for the digital services tax.

The actual legislation language of the common position reached by the conference committee has yet to be published. Accordingly, the specifics of the bill are, for now, uncertain. A press release (issued last evening) by the finance commission of the Senate indicated that the conference committee agreed not to impose a time limit on digital services tax.

The version of the legislation favored by the Senate included an automatic termination of the digital services tax, with an expiration date of 1 January 2022. While it is reported that this sunset measure has been dropped from the bill, an annual report on the effects of application of the French digital services tax would have to include information about what would be the impact of an international agreement (if reached) on digital services taxation and implications of replacing the French digital services tax by any such new mechanism adopted at the international level.

 

For more information, contact a tax professional with KPMG Avocats in France:

Marie-Pierre Hôo | + 33 (0) 1 55 68 49 09 | mhoo@kpmgavocats.fr

Laurence Mazevet | + 33 (0) 1 55 68 49 67 | laurencemazevet@kpmgavocats.fr

Patrick Seroin | + 33 (0) 1 55 68 48 02 | patrickseroin1@kpmgavocats.fr

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