EU says tech firms should pay fair taxes after "winning" during COVID

European Commission calls for a global solution to taxing the digital giants

Big tech firms have to pay a "fair amount" of taxes in Europe because they are the "real winners" of the coronavirus pandemic, a top official has said. 

Paolo Gentiloni, the European Commissioner for economics and taxation, has called for a global solution to digital tax, according to CNBC

His comments come amid an ongoing rift between the US and the European Union over the taxation of America's big tech companies, such as Apple, Google and Amazon. 

Many of the biggest tech companies recorded increases in profits as a result of the global switch to remote working and mass digital transformations sparked by the pandemic. And even more consumer-focused firms such as Apple saw gains, with the iPhone maker recently becoming the first organisation to surpass a $2 trillion valuation

Gentiloni, the former Italian prime minister, said that it was no longer possible to "accept the idea" that these companies were not paying a fair amount of taxes in Europe, particularly as they have all seen profits boosted during the pandemic. He also suggested that the looming election could have an effect on the issue. 

"The giants of the digital platforms are the real winners of this crisis, from the economical point of view," Gentiloni said. "We all experience this in our own lives."

"We are in an electoral year in the US and I think this also has an influence," he said, adding that the EU needed "to insist on the necessity of a global solution."

But a universal agreement on digital tax isn't likely to come while Donald Trump is in office, as the US President has been critical of countries such as France and the UK over the digital levies they've sought to place on American tech businesses. 

There is also nothing to suggest that Democratic candidate Joe Biden will agree to European digital taxes as he hasn't specified his stance on the matter. He has, however, hit out at Amazon for its tax practices.

"I have nothing against Amazon, but no company pulling in billions of dollars of profits should pay a lower tax rate than firefighters and teachers," Biden tweeted in June. "We need to reward work, not just wealth."

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