German finance minister expects OECD deal on digital tax in 2020

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz addresses a news conference to present the results of the latest tax revenue estimate in Berlin, Germany, May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensc

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Friday he expected the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will agree a minimum level of taxation for digital companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook by mid-2020.

He also said he expected progress by the third quarter of 2019 on introducing a financial transaction tax in at least nine EU countries.

“We discussed the taxation of large companies, especially in the digital economy,” Scholz told a news conference after a meeting of EU finance ministers.

“We are on the way… to an international agreement on the level of the OECD, but also in the G7 and G20,” Scholz said. “I expect that by summer next year we will reach an agreement at the OECD on minimum taxation… We will need at the same time an agreement on taxation of companies so that it leads to better taxation of the digital economy.”

France has proposed to help finance a future budget for the euro zone from taxes on digital companies, but some countries are wary of the move unless it is backed globally as not to put Europe at a disadvantage.

Scholz also said he expected progress on another potential source of funding for the future euro zone budget, the financial transaction tax, by the third quarter of this year.

“It looks like the enhanced cooperation will show results in summer. We are working on the legal text. The basis for it is the Franco-German proposal. We are trying to convince smaller states. I expect German revenues from the tax would be around 1.2 billion euros. The effort would pay off,” he said.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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