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Sarkozy has new look at Google tax

Internet giants blasted for doing "several billion euros of business in France without paying any tax"

PRESIDENT Sarkozy is to look again at the idea of a tax on internet giants such as Google, lambasting the fact that they can "do several billion euros of business in France without paying any tax".

In an interview to be published today in Le Point he said he would examine proposals to tax online advertising, despite last year burying the famous taxe Google which had proposed a 1% advertising tax. He said then that it risked penalising French businesses.

He told Le Point there were "two serious avenues" that he "wanted to explore simultaneously on both a French and European level: a tax on online advertising and the tax liabilities of companies - even to the extent of renegotiating some of our tax treaties".

Sarkozy said that he wanted web giants to pay a "tax related to their business in our country" and make them help "fund the creation and the investment in our networks". Investment in the likes of new high-speed cable networks was, he said, being paid for by French taxpayers.

He has said several times that he wanted to find a way to impose a digital tax on web companies, highlighting the fact that such large businesses - based largely in low-tax countries such as Ireland or Luxembourg - pay little tax in France.

French entrepreneurs had persuaded him to drop last year's effort as they said they would be badly affected by a taxe Google while the American company and others such as Facebook and Microsoft would be relatively unaffected.

He repeated his hopes for funding aid for new digital networks when he opened Google's Paris HQ last year - and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt replied saying he "was not opposed" to proposals that Google provide backing.

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