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United States Trade Representative Moves Forward on its Investigation under Section 301 into France’s Digital Services Tax

11/27/2019

Washington, DC –  The United States Trade Representative is in the process of completing its investigation, under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, of France’s Digital Services Tax (DST) and intends to issue its report in that investigation on Monday, December 2, 2019.  At that time, the United States Trade Representative also will announce any proposed action in the investigation.

Background:

On March 6, 2019, the French government released a proposal for a 3 percent tax on revenues generated by some companies from certain digital services.  The two houses of the French parliament passed a final DST bill on July 4 and 16, and President Emmanuel Macron signed the bill into law on July 24.  The DST imposes a 3 percent levy on gross revenues generated from providing two categories of digital services—“digital interface” services and “targeted advertising” services—to, or aimed at, persons in France.  The DST applies only to companies that generate, from providing the taxable services, €750 million globally and €25 million for services provided to, or aimed at, persons in France.  The DST requires that covered companies calculate revenues attributable to France using formulas specified in the law.  The DST applies retroactively, beginning January 1, 2019.

On July 10, 2019, the U.S. Trade Representative initiated an investigation of the French DST pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.  The notice of initiation (84 FR 34042) requested interested persons to provide comments in connection with the investigation by no later than August 26, 2019.  USTR and the interagency Section 301 committee held a public hearing on August 19. 

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