Austrian chancellor is meeting the internet CEOs he’s going to tax in Davos

Register now

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz will meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week the heads of the internet giants he’s targeting with a tax package.

Just two weeks after unveiling tax measures meant to bring “justice” to a system in which global tech firms pay a fraction of the taxes imposed on Austrian companies, Kurz has booked time with top officers of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Facebook Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. at the Alpine resort.

Kurz will discuss the tax, which targets advertising revenue, tightens rules for imports, and makes platforms liable for tax declarations of their members, the Austrian chancellery said without elaborating.

Austria failed to get a deal on a European Union-wide digital tax as members including Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands blocked an agreement on even the most rudimentary models. Finance Minister Hartwig Loeger then went ahead with a domestic proposal that’s aimed at raking in 200 million euros ($227 million) a year.

Apart from imposing a 3 percent levy on digital advertising, which would hit Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google, Austria will also scrap an exemption from import duties for low-value goods, which it says was exploited by some online retailers. Platforms such as Airbnb Inc. will be required in the future to share information with the tax authority to make sure income taxes are paid by members.

Apart from Alibaba founder Jack Ma and CEO Daniel Zhang, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Kurz is also meeting Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook, SAP SE CEO Bill McDermott and Novartis AG CEO Vasant Narasimhan, according to the chancellery.

Bloomberg News
International taxes Tax avoidance Corporate taxes Facebook Uber