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Insolvency law panel likely to finalise report this month

insolvency law, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, IBC, bankruptcy, IBC panel There have been concerns about incomplete real estate projects and consequent hardships faced by home buyers. Some realty firms are also facing insolvency proceedings. (IE)

A high-level panel looking into various aspects of the insolvency law is expected to finalise its report this month wherein recommendations for “targeted amendments” will be made to the government, a senior official said. A rising number of cases involving stressed assets are being taken up for resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), which came into force in December 2016. The 14-member panel has the mandate to identify and suggest ways to address issues faced in the implementation of this law. The Insolvency Law Committee has circulated the draft of its report to the members and the final report is likely to be finalised this month, the official said on the condition of anonymity. After considering the panel’s recommendations, the Corporate Affairs Ministry will prepare the draft Bill for proposed amendments to the IBC. This would be the second time that the IBC would be amended. The basic structure of the IBC will not be disturbed and “targeted amendments” will be carried out. It would also address all “unintended consequences” with respect to implementation of this law, the official said. Without elaborating on the proposed changes, the official said there would be “something for home buyers also”.

There have been concerns about incomplete real estate projects and consequent hardships faced by home buyers. Some realty firms are also facing insolvency proceedings. Against this backdrop, there are also suggestions from certain quarters on having provisions in the IBC to provide relief to home buyers. In January, the IBC was amended to prevent unscrupulous persons from misusing the law. Wilful defaulters and those whose accounts have been classified as non-performing assets, among others, are barred from bidding for stressed assets under the IBC.

The committee, headed by Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas, would identify issues that might “impact the efficiency of the corporate insolvency resolution and liquidation framework” as well as make recommendations to address them. The IBC — which provides for market-determined and time-bound insolvency resolution process — comes under the ministry.

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Big tobacco firms clash in NZ

Article – BusinessDesk

Big tobacco firms clash in NZ as Philip Morris sues BAT for anti-competitive behaviourBig tobacco firms clash in NZ as Philip Morris sues BAT for anti-competitive behaviour

By Jonathan Underhill

March 22 (BusinessDesk) – Philip Morris (New Zealand) is suing British American Tobacco (New Zealand), alleging its larger rival is breaching competition law by locking retailers into contracts designed to preserve its dominance in a $2.5 billion market.

In the lawsuit, filed in the High Court in Auckland, PMNZ alleges BATNZ “is unlawfully incentivising and compelling retailers to restrict the availability of competitor products,” it said in a media statement. PMNZ is seeking unspecified damages in five causes of action for alleged breaches of the Commerce Act.

BATNZ said in a separate statement that it “categorically denies the allegations.”

Whichever side wins in court, the lawsuit shines a light on the increasingly opaque arrangements in New Zealand’s tobacco market.

PMNZ says BATNZ has 65 percent of the local market for cigarettes and 63.7 percent of sales of roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco. It competes with Imperial Tobacco New Zealand, which has 23 percent of the cigarette market and 31 percent of RYO, while PMNZ has 12 percent and 5.4 percent respectively.

An estimated 605,000 adults burn their way through 2 billion cigarettes a year in New Zealand, where PMNZ says the tobacco industry is “mature, highly regulated and heavily taxed.” BATNZ’s brands include Rothmans, Dunhill, Benson & Hedges, Winfield, Holiday, Pall Mall, Freedom and Club along with RYO brands such as Park Drive. PMNZ sells Marlboro, Longbeach and Choice cigarettes and Craftsman and Longbeach RYO products. Imperial Tobacco’s brands include Peter Stuyvesant, West, Horizon, Camel and JPS and in the RYO category, Drum, Pocket Edition and Horizon.

Tobacco brands have all but disappeared from the advertising landscape in the wake of the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 and the Smoke-free Environments Regulations 2007, which banned all tobacco advertising and point of sale display. Plain packaging came into effect this month. As a result, PMNZ says, tobacco companies can only compete on price, product availability at retail and product innovation.

PMNZ says BATNZ’s large number of historically popular brands make it “an unavoidable trading partner for many retailers” and its dominance and the rules it imposes on retailers have the effect of squeezing out competitors. Tobacco has three channels to market – ‘general trade’, which is dairies and independent retailers; ‘organised convenience’, which is retail store chains such as those operated by oil companies and liquor retailers, and ‘grocery’ – stores owned by the major supermarket chains.

With the restrictions of display and advertising, retailers typically store tobacco products in covered cabinets known in the trade as “unitry”. In the general trade category, BATNZ owns about 75 percent of the unitry, which it provides “free” to retailers. but the cabinets come with conditions, PMNZ says. They include a requirement that the upper, or ‘primary units’ of cabinets be kept “fully stocked with 100 percent BATNZ products at all times”, and in accordance with BATNZ ‘planograms’ which specify where particular products are placed in the cabinets.

BATNZ’s arrangements also include paying cash inducements to retailers who meet the trading terms, PMNZ alleges. Such payments are withheld when the terms are breached and BATNZ does random spot checks to ensure compliance, it says. There are also rules known as “ranging restrictions” if the mix of products is changed or if a retailer wishes to increase its offering of a rival’s products, to ensure there is no loss of shelf space for BATNZ products, it says.

PMNZ says the rules are anti-competitive, breach the Commerce Act and have caused it to suffer loss and damage. The statement of claim alleges BATNZ’s conduct “shows flagrant disregard for its Commerce Act 1986 obligations.”

A BATNZ spokeswoman said in an emailed statement that her company is “confident that we are not engaging in anti-competitive conduct and will defend our position when the case is heard.”

“We are strongly committed, and have actively engaged for some time, to have reduced risk products regulated and legally available to adult New Zealand smokers as soon as possible,” she said..

PMNZ says that traditionally, adult smokers have been loyal to their preferred brand but in recent year, as taxes have increased, price has become a key factor and the tobacco firms all offer so-called ‘value brands.’ The value segment “is now the most contested part of the tobacco market,” PMNZ says.

It also says the BATNZ rules have implications for the availability of so-called e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine to the user via a vapour rather than with smoke and are regarded as a less harmful alternative to smoking.

The government received a total of $1.7 billion in duty on tobacco sales in 2016 from the big three producers – British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris – which all lifted sales in New Zealand that year.


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Law professors: legaltech sector is “burgeoning” – but not all law firms understand how to make best use of the solutions on offer

Law professors: legaltech sector is “burgeoning” – but not all law firms understand how to make best use of the solutions on offer – World News Report – EIN News

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EU unveils digital tax targeting big US tech firms

EU unveils digital tax targeting big US tech firms

Brussels: The EU unveiled on Wednesday proposals for a digital tax that targets US tech giants, heaping more problems on Facebook after revelations over misused data of 50 million users shocked the world.

The special tax is the latest measure by the 28-nation European Union to rein in Silicon Valley giants and could further embitter the bad-tempered trade row pitting the EU against US President Donald Trump.

EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici presented his proposals in Brussels aimed at recovering billions of euros from mainly US multinationals that shift earnings around Europe to pay lower tax rates.

“This current legal vacuum is creating a serious shortfall in the public revenue of our member states,” France´s Moscovici told a press conference in Brussels.

“We estimate this could generate at least five billion euros a year if the tax is imposed at 3 percent.”

Moscovici insisted it was “not an anti-GAFA tax nor an anti-US tax”, referring to the popular acronym for Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

The transatlantic blow has been championed by French President Emmanuel Macron and will be discussed over dinner at an EU leaders summit on Thursday.

The unprecedented tech tax follows major anti-trust decisions by the EU that have cost Apple and Google billions and also caught out Amazon.

The EU tax would affect revenue from digital advertising, paid subscriptions and from “sale of data generated from user-provided information”, the European Commission said.

The tax lands as EU agencies are also set to tighten rules on data privacy, targeting tech firms. That file has come to the forefront following revelations that a firm working for Trump´s US presidential campaign harvested data on 50 million users of Facebook.

The EU tax plan will target mainly US companies with worldwide annual turnover above 750 million euros ($924 million), such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Airbnb and Uber.

Spared are smaller European start-ups that struggle to compete with them.

Brussels is seeking to choke tax-avoidance strategies used by the tech giants that, although legal, deprive EU governments of billions of euros in revenue.

Under EU law, firms like Google and Facebook can choose to book their income in any member state, prompting them to pick low-tax nations like Ireland, the Netherlands or Luxembourg.

The European Commission estimates that digital businesses pay an average effective tax rate of just 9.5 percent, compared with the 23.3 percent paid by traditional companies.

These numbers are, however, disputed by the tech giants, which have criticised the tax as a “populist and flawed proposal”.

“The proposed turnover tax aimed at online platforms is discriminatory and ignores the global consensus that the so-called ´digital economy´ should not be singled out,” said Christian Borggreen of the Computer & Communications Industry Association.

Under the EU plan, revenue from the digital tax would be fairly distributed to where the companies actually operate, according to the level of activity in those countries and not the level of booked profit.

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India Warns Global Data Analytics Firms Against Meddling in Country’s Elections

New Delhi (Sputnik) — India has strongly warned data analytics firms against any abuse of social media in the country’s elections, following reports that a British consultancy had improperly accessed information about millions of Facebook users to target US voters.

“In the wake of recent data theft from Facebook, let my stern warning be heard across the Atlantic, far away in California. Any covert or overt attempt to misuse social media including Facebook to influence India’s electoral process through undesirable means will neither be tolerated nor be permitted,” India’s Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said during a press conference on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Snowden Continues Campaign Against India’s Biometric ID Programa

India is going to the polls in 2019 and media reports suggest that India’s oldest political party — the Indian National Congress (INC) led by Rahul Gandhi — is in touch with London-based Cambridge Analytica for data analysis. 

“Will Congress party depend upon data manipulation and theft to win votes? Mr. Rahul Gandhi should explain the role of Cambridge Analytica in his social media profile,” Minister Prasad said pointing a finger at the INC, now in the opposition.   

Prasad quoted a Hindustan Times report, wherein it is claimed that the firm has its eyes set on wooing politicians in South Asia. Meanwhile, the INC has categorically denied the allegation.

“Indian National Congress or the Congress President has never used or never hired the services of a company called Cambridge Analytica. It is a fake agenda and white lie being dished out by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad,” Randeep Surjewala, spokesperson of the INC told the media.  

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Wales EU law bill passed by assembly

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A bill to prevent what Welsh ministers call a Whitehall “power-grab” has been passed by AMs.

The Continuity Bill will bring powers over devolved matters currently wielded at EU level to Cardiff Bay.

The draft legislation was fast-tracked through the assembly amid a row between Welsh Labour and UK Conservative ministers over the UK government’s Brexit bill.

UK ministers have insisted their proposals will strengthen devolution.

The UK government wants to keep some powers in devolved areas temporarily, saying they are needed to protect the UK internal market.

But the Welsh and Scottish governments say those proposals amount to a “power-grab”. Welsh ministers believe the frameworks should be agreed by consensus.

The powers cover areas such as agriculture support and food labelling.

A total of 39 AMs backed the bill, versus 13 against. There was one abstention.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the law will ensure the system of devolution is preserved.

UK ministers have described the bill as unnecessary, and it was opposed by their Welsh Conservative colleagues in a Senedd debate.

Around an hour after the Welsh Assembly passed its legislation, the Scottish Parliament voted through a similar bill.

Mr Jones told BBC Wales Today that the law protected the Welsh Government’s position.

The first minister said the bill “isn’t about stopping Brexit”.

“What it is about is making sure that the powers the people of Wales voted to give themselves in 2011 are preserved,” he said.

“The three governments should agree what powers shouldn’t be touched for the next three years, not one government saying to the others what’s going to happen.”

Mr Jones added: “What we’ve done today is put legislation in our back-pockets, so we’ve got that if we need it.

“But I’d rather move forward on the basis of agreement between ourselves, the UK government and the Scottish government.”

Analysis by BBC Wales political editor Nick Servini

The UK government will be able to override this legislation if there is no agreement with the devolved administrations, but the fact that it is now in place makes it more difficult for ministers at Westminster to do that.

And the Welsh Government will be acutely aware that trying to overturn the wishes of ministers in Cardiff and Edinburgh is not a good look for a UK government, which has always said it wants to bring people with it on Brexit.

The Welsh Government legislation fills a potential gap after Brexit but it also means Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon can exert added pressure as all sides try to find agreement.

The first minister insists this is about protecting devolution and not blocking Brexit, but critics insist this was an unnecessary effort that should have been directed towards finding a solution instead.

The Welsh Government said that the UK government’s EU Withdrawal Bill as currently drafted would allow Westminster to take control of laws and policy areas that are devolved – a position that was “wholly unacceptable”.

The Continuity Bill was backed by Plaid Cymru AMs, as well as most UKIP AMs with the exception of Gareth Bennett.

But Welsh Conservative AM David Melding said: “The Continuity Bill is an unnecessary and unhelpful sideshow which risks undermining the ongoing negotiations with the UK government.

“It was a parody from the start, with members unable to scrutinise its passage through the Assembly in anything like a proper fashion.”

“The Welsh Government allowed itself to be carried away by the SNP on a nationalist whim – instead of acting in the national interest,” he added.

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Austin Bans Work to Wall Firms As AGC Pushes Cities’ Litigation

The Associated General Contractors is ramping up efforts to convince the federal government to sue cities in California, Texas and other states that seek to bar contractors who take part in building the Trump administration’s planned Mexican border wall from doing public construction or gaining tax credits.

No firm has yet lost work, but AGC now is enlisting the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security—which oversees the estimated $25-billion project—to convince the U.S. Justice Dept. to file suit on constitutional grounds. Last year, the trade group asked the DOJ for the litigation and lobbied President Trump directly but has received no response, said spokesman Brian Turmail. AGC has hired a law firm to boost its effort against the “mean-spirited policy,” he said. A DOJ spokesman declined to comment.

Austin is the latest city to link border wall work and city contracts, enacting the action last month in a 10-1 city council vote. The resolution applies to contractors that work on future wall extensions. Municipal officials in California—who last year took the lead in efforts to ban wall contractors—say they are looking out for the best interests of their communities and the state as a whole. San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley voted last year to bar wall contractors. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín and three council members said in a memo that the wall will not only “demonize” people of Mexican and Latin American descent, but will also “waste an enormous amount of taxpayer money.”  

Meanwhile, California Assemblyman Phil Ting has filed a bill that would bar companies that do work on the border wall from receiving a myriad of tax credits and breaks. “Companies decide all the time on whether to participate in tax credit programs,” said Ting, who argued he is not trying to penalize companies. “This is merely a disincentive to companies that want to participate in building a wall that is wildly unpopular in California.” According to media reports, cities in  Arizona, New York, Illinois and Rhode Island also have passed bans or are considering them.

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Opinion: The law is three steps behind Facebook

The row was sparked by a series of reports in the UK newspaper the Observer, TV network Channel 4 News and the New York Times, based on documents and testimony from a former employee, revealing how a personality quiz taken by 270,000 people — who were paid for their time — was used to harvest information on 50 million of their friends.
The information was then allegedly used to help in the digital campaigning efforts of President Donald Trump during the 2016 election — a claim Cambridge Analytica denies.
Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has demanded answers from both companies, even threatening the use of subpoenas “if necessary” — though Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have both subsequently agreed to brief lawmakers.
How Mark Zuckerberg went from 2020 darling to political scourge
Separately, the FTC has announced it is investigating whether the data harvesting breached a 2011 settlement between the company and regulators, while in the UK, Parliament has asked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to testify in front of a committee. The country’s information commissioner — its data watchdog — has launched a separate investigation.
On the face of it, this is regulation working exactly as it should: Something shocking has been revealed and lawmakers and agencies are working together to get to the bottom of it. It’s certainly right that Facebook and Cambridge Analytica should face some tough questions. But lawmakers and regulators should be asking themselves some tough questions too.
The reason everyone is taking action now is because of good reporting that landed at exactly the right time, in the middle of a backlash against technology companies that had previously been given a free ride by media and politicians alike. It has also come against the backdrop of concerns about online misinformation from Russia and elsewhere reshaping the West’s politics.
But lawmakers and regulators alike could have taken action on this issue far sooner: before the US elected Donald Trump and before the UK voted for Brexit — both elections that some claim were influenced by Cambridge Analytica.
Why? Because the claim at the center of the most recent stories had already been reported by the Guardian in 2015.
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That story, which was reported while Cambridge Analytica was running the digital campaign of Ted Cruz’s primary race, included the facts that the company had harvested data from 40 million or more profiles, was using this in political profiling and had done so by paying participants to take a personality quiz designed by Alexander Kogan. The story even included reaction from Facebook on the activities.
While the more recent stories add new facts and far more color, any member of Congress who had chosen to google around the issue could have been armed with this information when questioning either Facebook or Cambridge Analytica — both of which have appeared in front of committees since that original report.
The technology giants have been allowed to grow and become some of the world’s largest companies with very little scrutiny. As this has happened, traditional media and legislators have struggled to understand their workings, or the ramifications of the new world that these firms have built.
Facebook Fast Facts
It is certainly to the good that such companies lose their halo and face the same scrutiny as companies in any other sector. But for as long as lawmakers can only ask questions in the wake of a story reaching front pages across the world, they will only ever be playing catch-up and covering yesterday’s scandal, failing to protect us from tomorrow’s.
If lawmakers and regulators had asked the right questions of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica in 2015, when the story first broke, we could have had a debate about micro-targeting — and online information and misinformation — before the hugely controversial 2016 votes in both the US and UK.
Neither can now turn back the clock, but they can try to look ahead to the stories that aren’t immediately front-page news, and make sure we go into the next technological revolutions with our eyes open and with good laws and rules laid out.
The technology sector is working on numerous things that could reshape our world.
At the simple end, this includes self-driving cars, which come with huge potential but also huge risks. It includes algorithms that determine who gets paid what, who gets loaned what and how long people go to jail.
Further down the road, it also includes artificial intelligence, which could reshape the workplace — and possibly even our biology.
Action from lawmakers and regulators after something makes global headlines is good, but it’s not enough — we need them to be out in front.

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London law firm boss quits over messages sent to married woman

  • Bill Voge was the London-based global chairman at law firm Latham & Watkins
  • He stood down last night after admitting sending sexual messages to a woman
  • Lawyer ‘sent graphic messages to the woman, then threatened her with jail’

Richard Spillett for MailOnline

A top lawyer at one of the world’s biggest law firms has quit after admitting that he sent inappropriate sexual messages.

Bill Voge was the London-based global chairman of US firm Latham & Watkins before he resigned last night amid a growing sex scandal in the industry.

It is reported that Mr Voge sent graphic sexual text messages to a woman he met through a Christian organisation before claiming she would be jailed when she complained.

Top lawyer Bill Voge, pictured with wife Jami, has stepped down from a top law firm after sending inappropriate messages to a married woman

Top lawyer Bill Voge, pictured with wife Jami, has stepped down from a top law firm after sending inappropriate messages to a married woman

Top lawyer Bill Voge, pictured with wife Jami, has stepped down from a top law firm after sending inappropriate messages to a married woman

The woman exchanged messages with Mr Voge after they met through the New Canaan Society, reported.

The website stated that the married woman felt he had taken things too far when he invited her to his hotel room, so she contacted members of his firm to complain.

Mr Voge later messaged the woman’s husband telling her she would be jailed for sharing his emails and messages with others, reported.

Mr Voge, who never met the woman in person, has insisted he has done nothing illegal, but quit the huge law firm yesterday.

He said in a statement: ‘I deeply regret my lapse of judgment and I am sorry for the distress and embarrassment I have caused my family, friends, and colleagues.

‘My conduct falls well below the personal and professional standards I have tried to uphold throughout my entire career.’

The American firm has lavish offices in Bishopsgate, in the heart of the city of London

The American firm has lavish offices in Bishopsgate, in the heart of the city of London

The American firm has lavish offices in Bishopsgate, in the heart of the city of London

The company said in a statement: ‘Mr Voge tendered his resignation after making a series of voluntary disclosures to the firm’s executive committee relating to his personal conduct.

‘Mr Voge’s conduct involved the exchange of communications of a sexual nature with a woman whom he has never met in person and who had no connection to the firm. Mr Voge’s conduct did not involve the firm, any of its clients, or its personnel.

‘Mr Voge engaged in subsequent conduct relating to this matter that, while not unlawful, the executive committee concluded was not befitting the leader of the firm.’

Mr Voge was educated at Berkeley before joing Latham and Watkins in 1983. He has worked in the firm’s London, New York and San Diego, specialising in energy and finance contracts, and became global chairmain in 2015. 

His resignation follows a series of sexual harassment claims at law firms.

In February, the London branch of global law firm Baker Mckenzie said on Wednesday it had appointed an external legal team to review how it had responded to an employee’s allegation that she had been sexually assaulted by one of the firm’s partners. 

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UPDATE 2-EU proposes online turnover tax for big tech firms

* Proposed tax rate of 3 pct for online business

* For firms with global revenue over 750 mln euros, 50 mln
in EU

* EU countries split over issue, but their backing required

* Turnover tax an interim measure before tax based on profit
(Adds Moscovici, EU diplomat, ITI, ACCA comments)

By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS, March 21 (Reuters) – The European Commission
proposed rules on Wednesday to make digital companies pay more
tax, with U.S. tech giants such as Google, Facebook
and Amazon set to foot a large chunk of any

However, many EU leaders, who will debate the issue of how
to claw taxes from the elusive new digital economy at a Brussels
summit on Thursday, oppose the executive’s proposals. Despite
support from big powers Germany and, especially, France, that
risks making it very hard to turn the idea into European law.

Under the Commission’s plan, companies with significant
digital revenues in Europe will pay a 3 percent tax on their
turnover on various online services in the European Union,
bringing in an estimated 5 billion euros ($6.1 billion).

EU Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici brushed off
accusations that he was going after rich American tech companies
to enrich EU coffers at a time when the bloc is at odds with the
Trump administration over trade and taxation issues.

“This is neither a GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon)
attack nor an anti-U.S. attack proposal that will target any
company or any country,” he told a news conference.

The tax would apply to large firms with annual worldwide
revenue above 750 million euros ($920 million) and annual
“taxable” EU revenues above 50 million euros.

The legislation comes as the United States unsettles Europe
with its own tax reform and the threat of a trade war along with
reports that Facebook user data was accessed by a consultancy to
help President Donald Trump win the 2016 election.

EU antitrust authorities have also been busy investigating
the business practices of Amazon, Google and Apple, leading to
accusations, which the Commission denies, that it is targeting
Silicon Valley.

While some smaller EU states such as Ireland and Luxembourg
fear the proposed tax would undermine their ability to attract
multinationals to base themselves in their jurisdictions, others
see the measure as more likely to shift taxes toward bigger
countries in the bloc rather than raising more revenue in Europe

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar called the measure “ill
judged” and urged Brussels to wait and take its lead from global
proposals planned by the OECD group of industrial states.

The tax, designed as a short-term measure before the EU
finds a more comprehensive way to tax profits based on where
they do business, could also encompass other high-profile U.S.
firms such as Airbnb and Uber.

It is designed to apply to activities in which users play a
role in value creation – whether via online advertising, such as
in search engines or social media, via online trading or in the
sale of data about users.


The Commission said that top digital firms, whose average
revenue growth of 14 percent far exceeded that of other
multinationals, faced an effective tax rate of 9.5 percent, less
than half the level of traditional companies.

The proposals require backing from the European Parliament,
where there is considerable support. But tax reforms also need
the backing of all 28 member states to become law.

Large EU states have accused the tech firms of paying too
little tax in the bloc by routing some of their profits to
low-tax member states such as Ireland and Luxembourg.

U.S. tech companies themselves have said they are paying tax
in line with national and international laws and, in some cases,
that the tax should be paid in the United States on profits
repatriated there.

The proposal is to tax companies according to where their
digital users are based.

EU diplomats predicted it would be hard to push through the
legislation, among the most important for the bloc, because of
deep divisions between larger countries set to gain more tax
income and smaller ones set to lose.

Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said that the
EU would prefer globally agreed rules, but that the amount of
profits currently going untaxed was unacceptable.

The tax would apply to online advertising sales, which would
bring in companies such as Google and Facebook, to platforms
offering services such as interaction with other users or online
sales and to those selling data generated from users.

The tax would be collected in countries where the users are

Tech industry groups have complained that it is wrong to tax
revenues as that would unduly hit companies. Some companies
however could feel less pain than others.

Amazon declined to comment. The proposed tax is likely to
have only a minimal impact as the company already posts revenues
and pay taxes in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Britain where
it has dedicated country websites since 2015.

Facebook, which also declined comment, changed its
accounting last year to record local advertising revenues in the
countries where it is present instead of its Dublin base.

The Information Technology Industry Council, whose members
include Amazon, Google, Facebook, eBay and Dropbox
, warned that the EU plan may drive away investments and
harm global trade.

The Association of Chartered Accountants (ACCA) was
similarly sceptical that it would be temporary.

“Over the years many ‘temporary’ or transitional tax
measures have in fact become embedded into the economy, and
negotiating changes to that status quo are far more troublesome
than it would have been to implement a better solution from
scratch,” Chas Roy-Chowdhury, ACCA’s head of Taxation, said.

($1 = 0.8145 euros)
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop;
Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald and Samantha Koester;
Editing by Alison Williams and Adrian Croft)

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