Berlin and Paris support US proposal for 21% minimum tax for multinationals

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Berlin | France and Germany support the United States’ proposal to introduce a global minimum tax on corporate profits at 21%, the finance ministers of the two countries said in an interview published on Tuesday.

“People are fed up with big companies not paying their fair share of taxes,” Frenchman Bruno Le Maire told the weekly “Die Zeit”.

France had recently mentioned a tax rate of 12.5%, he recalled.

But if the 21% rate suggested by Washington “was the result of negotiations, we would agree,” he added.

His German counterpart Olaf Scholz declared for his part that he had “nothing personally” against the American proposal.

The two ministers said they were confident about an agreement “this summer” on the subject at the OECD.

This is the first time that the two governments have mentioned their support for such a floor rate.

Negotiations are underway within the OECD to achieve a system of minimum international taxation of companies and to put an end to the fiscal dumping that they engage in in the world.

The project has been supported for several weeks by the United States, which is seeking to raise their corporate taxation to finance a massive infrastructure plan.

The goal is above all to increase the contribution of digital companies, accused of evading tax thanks to the differences in taxation between countries.

If the negotiations at the OECD are successful, France has already said that it would adopt a European directive on the subject in the first half of 2022, during the French presidency of the Union.

The minister also warned that he would “withdraw” the GAFA tax if the negotiations were successful.

This tax on digital companies, mainly American, has been at the heart of tensions between France and the United States in recent years.

In case of failure, “we will keep it”, he added.

In mid-April, European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton hailed the American proposal as an “elegant solution”.