Internet companies like Google and Facebook that do business in France could be hit with a one- to two-percent tax on sponsored links and banner ads if the government decides to follow the recommendations of a panel working for the country's culture ministry.
The tax could bring in nearly $30 million a year, putting an end to "the endless enrichment without payback," one of the authors of the report said.
In addition to Google and Facebook, the report also named Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo as potential revenue cows for the government. The money would be used to pay for projects designed to improve online cultural content and to pay artists who are losing money to online piracy.
The government wouldn't actually track ads from the companies, but would expect the companies to pay based on an honor system.
The report calls for other European Union members to follow suit and impose their own taxes on the Internet trade.
- see this Reuters article