France to Tax Social Media Sites

Wayne Ellis

[French map in shape of France]

France to Tax Social Media Sites (Bloomberg)

France’s Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA), the audiovisual regulator for the country, claims that video-sharing websites such as Facebook and YouTube should be subject to taxes. This so-called “culture tax” is currently paid by movie theaters, broadcasters and Internet service providers — totaling some $1.8 billion a year. These funds are then used to finance production of French TV and films. And it’s now the CSA’s position that social media sites that generate ad revenue from sharing videos should be subject to a similar tax — as should smartphones. Opponents of the next taxes say that the government should be encouraging the growth of a digital economy, rather than taxing it.  But the bottom line for investors is this: Should the CSA generate all these new funds, which publicly held companies would benefit the most from the government’s cash infusion? Those should be the investments to watch in 2014.

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