Big tech lobbying groups push Treasury to speak out on EU tax proposal

Big tech lobbying groups push Treasury to speak out on EU tax proposal
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Top technology trade associations are pushing the Trump administration to fight back against an expected European Union tax proposal.

Lobbying groups for major firms like Google, Amazon and Apple say the firms are worried by the expected release in the next two months of European Commission recommendations calling for taxes on unsold goods or digital advertising revenue.

“It is imperative the United States express its concern with the direction of the work and its possible impact on the global business climate in general and digital commerce in particular and forcefully engage in any multilateral discussions,” the tech groups wrote in a letter to Department of Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinIRS reduces donor reporting rules for some tax-exempt groups On The Money: US files complaints at WTO | House leaders get deal to boost biz investment | Mnuchin says US will consider Iran sanctions waivers | FCC deals blow to Sinclair-Tribune merger Mnuchin says US will consider Iran oil sanctions waivers: report MORE.

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They argue that such policies would be unfair and warn Mnuchin that the recommendations could “set a troubling precedent that could deeply harm the US and global business climate.”

Signees on the letter include the Information Technology Industry Council, CompTia and the Internet Association.

The groups also charged that the tax proposal is a part of a European Union pattern of targeting American technology firms.

“These efforts are coupled with rising rhetoric targeting US companies and clear statements of intent to raise revenue from US-based firms.”

In the last several years, the European Commission has taken enforcement action against companies like Apple and Google over unfair tax arrangements and abusing market dominance, respectively, resulting in multibillion-dollar penalties.

The former Treasury Secretary, Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewOvernight Finance: US reaches deal with ZTE | Lawmakers look to block it | Trump blasts Macron, Trudeau ahead of G-7 | Mexico files WTO complaint Obama-era Treasury secretary: Tax law will make bipartisan deficit-reduction talks harder GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system MORE, had spoken out against European action against American technology companies, saying that the EU was unfairly targeting U.S. tech firms. 

Treasury has been less outspoken on such matters since Mnuchin took over; however, he has pushed back against tax proposals targeting technology companies including one floated by France last October.