Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be treated differently from media organizations

Ruben Fields
February 18, 2020

The Cheif Executive Officer, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is set to throw his weight behind the call for technology giants to pay tax in Europe.

Last month, France agreed to postpone its 3% tax on the revenues of large digital services companies while similar global proposals were being debated.

Zuckerberg said that his company was working with governments, inclusing New Zealand's, "on what regulation could look like".

"I actually think where we should be is somewhere in between", he concluded.

A growing number of countries are preparing national digital taxes in the absence of a major redrafting of the rules, despite Washington's threat of retaliatory trade tariffs because it sees such levies as discriminatory against big U.S tech groups.

According to an excerpt of his speech provided in advance, Zuckerberg said, 'I understand that there´s frustration about how tech companies are taxed in Europe'.

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His remarks suggest that Facebook will support the worldwide taxation reform that is being debated at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

"We want the OECD process to succeed so that we have a stable and reliable system going forward". He also noted that with the OECD decision the company might have to pay more tax at different places under the same framework, but Facebook is willing to do that.

In Britain, Facebook paid just 28.5 million pounds ($37.2 million) in corporation tax in 2018, despite generating a record 1.65 billion pounds in British sales, media reports said.

The next deadline facing the OECD negotiators is early July, when the 137 participating nations are to meet to agree on the main policy elements of the digital tax.

Global discussions have been complicated by an alternative proposal by Washington for a so-called "safe harbour" option which analysts say would essentially render compliance optional and jeopardise the chances of reaching a comprehensive deal by the end of this year.

EU Commissioner Thierry Breton, who also met with Zuckerberg, said the proposals by Facebook were "interesting" but "it's not enough: too slow, too low in term of responsibilities".

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