Sarkozy mulls tax status for foreign firms

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French President Nicholas Sarkozy said Thursday he was giving thought to the operations of certain foreign Internet companies, such as Google, that earn money in France but pay their taxes elsewhere.

Sarkozy, at a meeting of Internet company executives, said "it is impossible not to think about the tax and value sharing problem posed by certain foreign players," according to an account by one of the participants, Jean-Michel Planche, head of the Witbe group.

"He cited Google, saying he admired the company but that there were nonetheless aspects that had to be considered because tax receipts cannot be drawn abroad on business done in France," Planche said.

Sarkozy last January had spoken of the advertising operations foreign Internet sites and search engines active in France.

"These companies are taxed in the headquarters country" although "they account for a good part of our advertising market."

He said that while he had "nothing against" Google, he said he wanted to see "the same rules apply to everyone," noting that French Internet companies pay their taxes in France.

© 2010 AFP

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