Amazon, Apple, Google and other tech giant shares unmoved by proposed tax ‘clampdown’


Tax changes agreed by the Group of Seven economies at the weekend are likely to have only a minimal impact on the tech companies they were aimed at, experts suggested today.

The G7 meeting agreed on a minimum global corporate tax rate of 15% based on a profit margin above 10%.

But analysts said to get any deal done would require agreement from smaller countries such as Ireland, which use low rates of corporation tax to encourage inward investment.

Ireland, for example, has a corporation tax rate of 12.5% and said it is unlikely to change it even though the rate agreed at the weekend was well below the original 21% floated by US President Joe Biden.

“The immediate market implications are likely to be minimal,” said Ian Williams, economics & strategy research analyst at Peel Hunt.

“No G7 nation currently charges that low a rate and the details, including agreement from numerous smaller countries, require plenty of work.”

Other commentators said the way a company such as Amazon is structured means it will make little difference to them.

The requirement for “profit exceeding a 10% margin for the largest and most profitable multinational enterprises” would rule out the US giant as it makes relatively low profits.

Heavy spending to develop its technology and build market share means that even though its value is US$1.6trn with sales of US$386bn in 2020, its profit margin was 6.3%.

Different business models in different countries would also allow the measure to be ‘easily gamed’, Richard Murphy, visiting professor of accounting at the Sheffield University management school, told The Guardian.

Google, meanwhile said it welcomed the actions being taken.

“We strongly support the work being done to update international tax rules. We hope countries continue to work together to ensure a balanced and durable agreement will be finalized soon,” it said in a statement.

Facebook (FB.O), (AMZN.O), Apple (AAPL.O), Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) were barely changed in pre-market deals ahead of the start of US trading.


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