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Opinion
Leonid Bershidsky

This Is the Best Way to Tax Google and Facebook

The Czech Republic proposes the highest digital tax rate in Europe so far and a focus on targeted advertising.

They get your data cheap.

They get your data cheap.

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg
Corrected

It’s only a matter of time before European countries start taxing tech multinationals, first individually and then in a coordinated way. The question really is how digital taxes will work, and so far, the Czech Republic appears to have the best idea.

It became clear in March that France’s push for a Europe-wide tax on Big Tech’s local revenues would fail for now. Germany torpedoed it because of fears of U.S. retaliation against European multinationals, especially German carmakers, and the European Union now is waiting for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to come up with a global plan. The OECD’s  most recent document on the issue reflects an intense deliberative process that could go on for quite a while. In the meantime, individual European countries are trying out different approaches.