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Spain joins Germany with Google news tax

  • Nov 4, 2014 | Richard Asquith

Spain joins Germany with Google news tax

Spain last Thursday joined Germany with plans for news copyright taxes on Google, Yahoo, Facebook and other aggregators. This is against the wishes of the European Union, and follows Hungary’s filed plans for an Internet Tax on online media giants such as Google and Facebook.

Spain approves 2015 News Tax

Spain’s Parliament approved its new tax on news aggregators on Thursday. It will target the practise of online news aggregators referring to articles in newspapers or journals’ websites, including synopses in search engine results. Spain believes this infringes the news providers’ copy write.

However, there is no detail yet on how the tax would be levied. It is estimated that this will provide a Euro 80m fillip to the Spanish government as it seeks to recover from a prolonged recession.

Germany news tax

The Spanish proposed tax follows the example set by Germany with its Ancillary Copyright tax, introduced in 2013. But this has created a backlash with Google delisting many German news providers.

Hungary backtracks on internet Tax

The Spain move follows last week’s proposals from Hungary to levy Internet Service Providers with a levy on data traffic. This is an extension of the existing Hungarian telecoms tax, and is aimed at global internet companies such as Google and Facebook. However, this measure was withdrawn within a few days due to widespread public demonstrations.

European Union struggles with its own proposals

The European Union is largely powerless to stop such taxes, and has tried in the past in a similar situation to block France without success. The big problem is the inconsistencies in each countries’ proposals and that it is probably not the best way solve the copy write industry’s needs. This week, the in-coming EU Digital Commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, raised the idea of such a tax on across the 28 member states.

VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is the former VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara