Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
France has approved a digital services tax despite threats of retaliation by US (bbc.com)
323 points by adzicg 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 477 comments





I never understood the logic behind taxing large internet businesses.

The idea behind taxes is that you use some public resource and you pay for that service. You own a home in a neighborhood, you pay property tax that funds the schools. You drive a car, you pay gasoline tax that funds the streets. You hire workers locally, you pay the tax to pay back all the contributions public institutions made to adding the skills to the worker.

But the idea that a company like Amazon owes some tax to France doesn't make sense. Sure the delivery person uses the roads, but they pay the gasoline tax and the delivery company pays taxes. What public resources did Amazon, a US company, use from France?

The other theories of taxation is that it should be used to raise revenue from the best means possible. I disagree with that framework but applying taxes arbitrarily hardly seems fair or the best way to raise revenue.

The other argument is that the government should "level the playing field". But again arbitrarily punishing or helping some corporations opens up the possibility of corruption and corporate meddling as corporations look for favors. Much of the edge Amazon has versus local retailers is that it is more efficient. It doesn't take up store space (and pay taxes on the land) and it doesn't have to hire a lot of local workers (and pay taxes on their salaries). It's simply more efficient and its services are appreciated by the consumers.


Those large tech companies can make money in France because the french government provides all that is necessary for a free, fair and functioning market. How could Google make money in France if there was no french police force, education system, market regulation, court system, contract enforcement?

All money made on the white market in any country is facilitated by that government, and taxes are paid on all profits to pay for the services which allowed the profit to be made.

>The other theories of taxation is that it should be used to raise revenue from the best means possible. I disagree with that framework but applying taxes arbitrarily hardly seems fair or the best way to raise revenue.

It's not arbitrary to expect businesses to pay for services they benefit from.


> Those large tech companies can make money in France because the french government provides all that is necessary for a free, fair and functioning market. How could Google make money in France if there was no french police force, education system, market regulation, court system, contract enforcement?

Also, those large tech companies can sell to French customers because French customers have money to buy from them. And the reason they have that money is largely due to the country/society/legal system/welfare/medical/etc. This is a "access to market" tax and it makes perfect sense.


Markets exist without governments and often despite them (see the illegal drug trade for an example) but I have never seen a successful government without markets. You may have the causation backwards.

Black markets exist, but they pay a different sort of tax: the muscle and violent losses required to keep their property. Lawful governments do that better, and that’s what taxes pay for. Google and Facebook have access to the legal system in France, not to mention the wires that run the internet itself. You can argue about what the optimal taxation scheme is but arguing that it’s not necessary, or that the internet is somehow special, is tiresome.

Yeah, I must say that I have never really understood that idea. In times of increased productivity it seem like you would want to tax the machines, the markets and the networks. Now it is people that are paying for housing, education and internet connections while finance, insurance and tech companies makes profits. Putting a huge burden on the one thing that doesn't scale, the input. Rather than what does, the output.

The companies that create the wires are already taxed in France. Having "access" to those wires seems a poor basis for taxation - that would imply the whole world should pay the French government tax merely for the privilege of France existing and being connected to the internet at all.

As for access to the legal system? As far as I can tell this is a net negative for them. All I ever hear about around the combination of FAANG+European courts is rather overreaching and abusive attempts to force them to pay lots of money or do lots of things that were never previously required and arguably still aren't under law. I'm sure they would happily lose "access" to the French courts if it meant not paying taxes there - the flow of legislation is so overwhelmingly one way.


I fail to see the qualitative difference between

a) Don Vito sending goons with guns to hurt and/or kill me if I don't pay protection money and

b) "The lawful government" sending people with guns to arrest me if I don't pay taxes (and potentially kill me if I should refuse arrest).


- You can vote Macron out, but Corleone can only give up power by getting assasinated or dying by natural causes. Either way, this creates massive conflict within the organization, and it probably perishes with the death of the boss. Contrast with Hollande losing the election, Macron assumes power but no civil war has started (maybe a metaphorical one with appointed positions, but without violence (non-verbal at least))

- The French police rarely kills people, and certainly not for not paying taxes. You can argue some tax dodging is under-prosecuted.


It´s basically one of legitimacy, as you point out with "lawful government" (so I guess you disagree).

The police ARE the state goons, so the outcome doesn´t change much .


Possibly because there isn't. The police were created to be state-sanctioned goons.

Don't you think that a company might just raise their prices to pay for those taxes?

It's up to them to figure out where's the right trade off to maximize their gains.

Sure, but assume they somehow pass the tax 100% onto the customer. So now French citizens are the ones paying for the "right to the free market" of their own country. Does that seem fair?

Yes, otherwise why should citizens pay more for local services? Or should we just remove all local taxes instead to make companies even?

Currently local businesses pay for the "right to the free French market", but remote businesses don't.


This typically doesn't happen. Companies don't pass the increases in taxes 100% to the consumer. By that argument all taxes would be immoral since they directly increase the prices consumers pay.

Now we can argue as to how much said tax is passed onto the consumer and whether or not the additional tax revenue towards various social services offsets the hit. Which is an important distinction to make when choosing what to tax, since some consumers (namely the poorer ones) have less in the way of dealing with modest price increases.

It also could be argued that companies are stealing money from nations they reside in by taking advantage of tax havens or various loopholes to reduce their tax burden. At that point companies starve the various social services and results in consumers being unfairly affected.


> By that argument all taxes would be immoral since they directly increase the prices consumers pay.

I'm not following this chain of logic. How is increasing the consumer price immoral? Regressive tax structure or something?


Companies don't receive money from the ether. They receive money from their customers. Ergo, 100% of taxes paid by companies are indeed paid by customers. Any increase will indeed be passed on to the customer. Any decrease in profits to the company is temporary and will be made up by the customers in the near (if not immediate) future. Companies won't just sit idly by while their profits decrease due to tax - they'll "innovate" their business method, or change the company organization, or restructure their pricing to 'hide' the increase.

That’s not how taxes work. Look up “economic incidence of tax.”

The fact that the money to pay taxes ultimately comes from customers does NOT mean that increased taxes will be levied on customers.

Here is a concrete example. According to economic theory, the competitive price of a good in a free market should be the marginal cost of the least efficient supplier in that market. If a tax increases your costs but you are (still) not the least efficient supplier, then prices should not change at all, and the taxes will entirely come out of your margins.

This tax is aimed at a handful of large internet-only businesses doing business in France. These businesses are large and profitable in part because they operate very efficiently, and are in competition with offline companies whose operating costs are much higher. It is unlikely that this tax will by itself make their margins higher than the competitors, and therefore is unlikely to make them raise their prices.

What is an interesting scenario, though, is that taxes + GDPR fines + complying with new copyright legislation + whatever else gets dreamed up becomes enough that internet companies decide that it is worthwhile to take a stand and exit various EU countries. They haven't for a variety of reasons (including that corporation vs country battles can make other countries wary of said corporation), but if France keeps picking a fight, those calculations could change.

One of the upcoming interesting battlegrounds along this line is from recent EU copyright legislation. It strongly implies that various tech giants will be required to put software chosen by various national governments on their network to proactively identify and block copyrighted content. Software out of their control that processes everything coming in and has legitimate reasons to "phone home". Maybe you trust countries like France and Germany to only require trustworthy software. But what about more corrupt countries like Romania? Do you trust their copyright filter software to not cross the line into spying and censorship?


Seems fine to me. Maybe it will make local businesses more competitive with Bezos airdropping junk from 747s powered with dolphin oil.

Yes, because all those local businesses are selling nothing but artisanal, locally-sourced, organic goodness; nobody other than Amazon imports goods from China.

And I think you're mixing your enviro-zealot metaphors; it's whale oil and dolphin tuna.


Companies raise prices based on demand curve, not cost.

An individual company sets its prices to optimize revenues. That depends only on the demand curve and is independent of costs. However, it's a rare market where even the most marginal suppliers earn enough producer surplus to make up for significant increases in production expenses. If the optimal revenue isn't enough to turn a profit then the business will close. That decrease in supply with no change in demand allows the remaining suppliers to raise their prices—though not necessarily by the full amount of the increase in cost, because only part of the decrease in supply manifests as an increase in price. The rest manifests as potential consumers doing without the good altogether, perhaps turning to lower-priced (but less satisfactory) substitutes.

That’s not what they say when the subject of tariffs comes up. “We’ll have to pass it on to consumers”.

But in reality, a share of the tariff is paid by the supplier and a share is paid by the consumer.

And if I remember my classic macroeconomics class correctly, that share depends precisely on the elasticity of demand (slope of the demand curve).


This is correct.

Economic facts pay little heed to economic rhetoric.

Companies only ever tell the truth of course.

This is unequivocally false. A 3% increase could make their costs higher than revenue. They would increase their prices or go out of business.

> A 3% increase could make their costs higher than revenue.

This might be true for many businesses but likely not the large digital ones, which enjoy ungodly margins (hence why they grow so much and so quickly). A unicorn's back is strong enough to carry quite a few saddles.


Clearly the solution is no taxes and all the things the government does will just automatically exist out of thin air.

Which makes local businesses better able to compete. Win-win.

(replying to sibling)

Some do.

Source: I'm French and I do :)


Out of curiosity, would you say most French people think the same way? I ask because I'm American and we really hate taxes here.

I'm American and I support the French doing this. Some Americans "hate taxes", but I have enough money. What I don't have is enough control in a country ruled by oligarchs and corporate fiefdoms. Governance is all about fostering a healthy society, by balancing incentives and disincentives. If you don't do that actively and carefully, curbing abuse and exploitation, then they grow to a breaking point.

So you believe paying more taxes somehow gives the taxpayers more control over their country ? Giving away more money doesn't mean you have more control over how said money is used. The most direct consequence actually goes in the other direction, you have now less agency (=money). There's no obvious mechanism that makes a monopoly (=government) more accountable the more money it's given.

I don't believe taxes give me more control. What I believe is that taxes aren't inherently bad and that we should express more concern over where the money goes and what economic effects it has, not paint all taxation as bad. Effective democracies do have an explicit mechanism to make government accountable: votes on issues (like where taxes are gathered and how they're spent) and representation. Through an effective democracy, using government as a proxy, people can also keep bad behavior by big amoral profit-motivated corporations in check. We don't have an effective democracy in the US. That's because it is overtly influenced by money, which, amorally or immorally, goes to help the spender.

There's very little democracy in France as well. Corporate lobbying might not be as prevalent (simply because they don't have as many humongous corporations), but it's still the same old self-serving oligarchy story.

If we really want to compare, American-style plutocracy might actually be more democratic, because it's easier for a diverse array of citizen to become rich, than it is for French citizens to join the elite club from ENA [1] and co.

[1]: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47991257


America legalized corruption (Citizens United), so I fail to see how is this more democratic.

It does enable it to spend on things like healthcare to prevent monopolies (or oligopolies which are often just as bad) from exploiting people. At least in theory a government is a benevolent monopoly, which is often better than one which only cares about profit.

The US has issues with government corruption, but this seems at least in part to do with americans' disdain for their government, which is partly because underfunding makes it difficult for it to operate smoothly.


I am not French, but Swedish, We have similar total tax burden. In general Swedes accept taxes. As it pays for: education, childcare, healthcare, a functional bureaucracy, defence, police and legal system etc. If you don’t get those or they don’t function well, then I can see that people are more hesitant.

But there is a cultural difference too. Many (most?) people around me accept that we pay for some freeloaders, as long as we also manage to protect and help those that really need it.

It seems to work [1] which is why we accept the taxes (more or less).

[1] Sweden scores high in most indexes trying to measure these things.


Maybe at one point. Today it is all borrowed against the future in the form of private debt, a propped up property market, sold off companies, and tax breaks. Of course people accepts taxes when it is primary labour that is highly taxed and they made hundreds of thousands in the property market so they don't feel like they need to work much any more. It is very unlikely that people would accept taxes to properly fund infrastructure, pensions, the military and whatever else these days.

Edit: Maybe this is uncomfortable for people but it is true. If people are so comfortable paying taxes how come the social democrats are the weakest in decades? How come there is no wealth tax, no inheritance tax, no gift tax, no property tax, deduction for debt, low corporate tax, special tax deals for family businesses, some of the highest privates debt in Europe, as well as some of the highest wealth inequality, most rapid privatization and the highest retirement age? The amount of tax money spent on private sector health care has doubled in 10 years. There is a housing shortage pretty much everywhere, for employees and students alike. The Stockholm subway is run by the Chinese. Volvo is Chinese. So is what is left of SAAB, essentially all Swedish cinemas, mobile operator 3 and partly Spotify, the other Volvo, the Stockholm airport train etc. There isn't going to be any Swedish companies left in 30 years. The steel and paper mills, spirits and other traditional companies are increasingly owned by Finnish companies. Oh, and the right wing populist party with an agenda based on discontent are now the second largest in the polls. Soon enough they will gut public service media like in Denmark.

These are not the traits of a well funded state prepared for the future. People just aren't paying attention.


"In general Swedes accept taxes" overlooks some rather important facts.

Firstly, "in general" is very vague. There are famous cases of rich Swedes who don't want to pay Swedish taxes and successfully avoid doing so. IKEA's tax structure is legendary isn't it?

Secondly, Sweden has cut taxes in the recent past:

https://iea.org.uk/blog/how-high-tax-sweden-abolished-its-di...

Obviously many Swedes weren't happy with high tax rates.

In this very left-wing article about how Swedes love paying very high tax rates, it is observed:

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2008/nov/16/sweden-tax-bur...

'The median voter is a woman who works for the public sector, and around two-thirds of the electorate draw most of their income from the state, either because they work in the public sector or draw benefits from it.'

So yes the average Swede is a net recipient of tax money and is thus going to think taxes are awesome. Obviously in a world where a minority are forced to pay for the living costs of the majority, "in general" the population will believe it's a good system. But is a good idea or sustainable over the long term, let alone moral?


That isn't really how the Swedish tax system works. A lot of that is paying yourself in one form or another.

The problem in Sweden is that if you for example you get $500k from you parents, buy an apartment that appreciates, go study for five years, have a kid and take parental leave for another two years you pay maybe 10-20% tax overall (on the appreciation mostly) and nothing for health care or education for yourself or your kids, which might go to semi private school.

While the average person who don't have rich parents, or maybe kids, and are trying to work their way up are paying 40-50% or more on their income and not getting much in return. And on top of that are paying for some of the highest property values and general prices in Europe.

Stockholm built the most expensive hospital in the world, yet has one of the lowest tax rates in the country.

I don't mind paying taxes, but I want them to be put to good use and not be some sort of discount system for those who are already well off so they can take more vacations. (I do realize that their is a lot of history behind that, but it is now getting warped into some form of crony capitalism).


"Do you like paying taxes?", is question politicians abuse frequently because it is an easy question for your system 1 to answer and creates an emotional response.

"Do you think that taxes are being used properly?" is a better question, since having roads to drive on or unemployment if you get let go from a job are quite useful; both are taxes. This is a harder question to answer and reduces the emotional response they are looking for.

That is not even a dive into economic inequality; Person A having 10 personal homes in three different countries while Person B lives out of their car pay-check by pay-check.


I would consider myself both.

It's true that in the US, the average person sees very little benefit to federal taxes. Most real, helpful things such as police, roads, schools and such are perceived to be only from local or possibly state taxes. This is not entirely true of course since Federal taxes do help for education and roads notably, but I would say that most people don't really think about it that way. There's also a very strong individualism in the US, which tends to make people overlook outside factors when evaluating success, the "if you work hard and believe in yourself anything is possible" kinda thing. Finally there's a general belief in the corruption and incompetence of big government, the idea that this money taken will just be wasted.

So taxes, especially Federal taxes, are seen as a burden, a form of robbery even. And by a bunch of incompetents no less.

In France, people do see direct benefits of paying taxes in their daily lives, mainly related to the medical system.

There is also a history of things like trains, the post office, ferries, electricity, telephone service, being handled by the central government (this is before the privatizations starting the 1990s), and crucially, people associating the involvement of the state in what were in some cases world class services. And the French don't generally see a problem in letting the government handle these sorts of things. As an example there is now a petition going around in France to keep the Paris airports under government control.

So, paying taxes in France is seen more as a necessary burden to having a functional society rather than highway robbery.

What does piss off the French is not everyone paying their fair share, which these new taxes are helping to compensate. Even if not much at all in terms of actual revenue for the state, it's more of a symbolic gesture to appease the population.


>It's true that in the US, the average person sees very little benefit to federal taxes.

I disagree with this. The US’s civil service organizations have immeasurably improved the quality of lives of everyone. Organizations like FDA/FAA/CDC/FCC/NASA/research at universities/Civil Engineering Corp/Transportation/judiciary/etc are crucial to advancing society and most importantly, the people in these organizations are by and large not corrupted, which is a very under appreciated assets and once lost, will be extremely hard to earn back. Obviously there are and will be a few bad actors, but the reason people don’t have to worry about bribing/violence/etc is that there is a higher level of trust in society and not everyone is out to get theirs before someone else takes it.

Once that attitude changes for most people, I don’t see how it will be possible to get it back.


I completely agree, my wording was perhaps ambiguous.

What I meant was that the average person doesn't perceive it as such, IOW they don't see the benefits of the Federal government, which is not to say that there are no benefits for the average person.

This is probably because there is a lack of publicity about how these types of programs improve people's daily lives.

Instead we get a lot of politicians talking about how wasteful these are, or how it's part of the nanny state, or stifling growth by taxes.

And the media doesn't generally oppose this viewpoint... As a example, I remember during the Democrat debate in Miami where Sanders was not asked how his healthcare would help people, but whether it would raise taxes.


Hard to say, this is matter of political option so it changes regularly :) my easy guess is that most people like benefits paid thanks to the taxes but do not like paying them :D

I'm not so sure a French citizen would see it that way.

Win-win, until you realize that this action is pretty much the opening shot of a trade war, precisely because it helps local businesses. Imagine if the US responded in kind and tailored some new rules that targeted European businesses in US markets with similar taxation.

> Imagine if the US responded in kind and tailored some new rules that targeted European businesses in US markets with similar taxation.

Evidently they consider that a fair risk.


At least one French company is affected though. The taxes apply based on total worldwide revenue.

> a company might just raise their prices to pay for those taxes

Amazon will rise prices? That will be just wealth redistribution from rich through Amazon and taxes to poor who are going to buy local potatoes.


and the problem is?

A company might raise prices to pay for an increased dividend. Companies have threatened the very existence of the company, or made a loss to pay increasing dividend.


> All money made on the white market in any country is facilitated by that government, and taxes are paid on all profits to pay for the services which allowed the profit to be made.

So any taxation is justified?

> It's not arbitrary to expect businesses to pay for services they benefit from.

Any digital company with revenue of more than €750m ($850m; £670m) - of which at least €25m is generated in France - would be subject to the levy.

That sounds arbitrary.


>so any type of tax is justified?

That's a straw man. You're leaping from "some type of tax is justified" which is quite a bit more reasonable than "any tax".

And if you want to say it's a slippery slope or some such, well, ever single action if extrapolated to the extreme can be a viewed as such. If 3% is reasonable and then it's proposed to goes up and up, fight the increase, not the initial reasonable action. Of course this may be putting words in your mouth, so I won't attribute it to you, only that I preempt a logical counter to mine.


> "That's a straw man."

No, it isn't.

Road tax pays for road maintenance. Municipal tax pays for municipal maintenance. VAT and Income Tax pay for government expenditure. Taxes are collected in exchange for a service.

Foreign businesses providing entirely digital services in France aren't actually receiving any kind of service back from the French government. In other words, this specific tax is just a mechanism for collecting money arbitrarily in exchange for nothing.

That's a slippery slope.


> Foreign businesses providing entirely digital services in France aren't actually receiving any kind of service back from the French government. In other words, this specific tax is just a mechanism for collecting money arbitrarily in exchange for nothing.

You've just ignored all the above posts without addressing them. The other posts make it clear without any counter argument from you that government provides a safe and stable addressable market to do business (and literally the currency).


That argument reduces down to “because a market exists” — is that really a compelling justification for this particular additional tax?

Because the dollars being used to pay for the digital good have already been taxed, probably many times over, by the time the credit card transaction settles and the merchant account is credited at the end of the week (or whenever).

It’s reasonable to question if this particular tax was designed in a way to target specific foreign companies, without a compelling nexus, which would make the tax predatory.


No government, no juicy market. Also > the merchant account is credited at the end of the week (or whenever).

Amazon doesn't pay taxes when they're the merchant.


> The other posts make it clear without any counter argument from you that government provides a safe and stable addressable market to do business (and literally the currency).

How does a government quantify providing "a safe and stable addressable market to do business"? What was the formula used to determine the tax bracket?

Unless we have a clear formula we can reason about, the tax would be arbitrary. Is that not the case?

Moreover, shouldn't the cost of providing "a safe and stable addressable market to do business" be a constant? We know how many French citizens utilize the service, and we should also (somehow) have the overall costs of "keeping the French market afloat". If so, why does the government tax a percentage of the total revenues?


Of course tax is arbitrary. Just look at the chicken tax [1] which despite its name, is a tax on light trucks - unless they're shipped to the US with extra seats which the dealer removes before the truck is sold.

If you're looking for a simple and logically designed system, the international tax system isn't it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_tax


In spanish we have two different words: tasa is what you are describing: a tasa is imposed to pay for a specific thing. Whereas an impuesto is a different thing that is simply put in a common account to pay for everything that is public, in whatever way the government sees fit. No need to link source and destination.

Think of it backwards: if we agree that X level of taxes need to be gathered to maintain common good, the government needs to gather it in the least unjust way possible. Taxing internet giants, to europeans, seem mostly just.


They do use communication networks and, in the case of Amazon, actual roads.

All taxes are a slippery slope. Name one that has ever been repealed. Income tax in the U.S. started out as a modest 3% on only the highest incomes and look where that has ended up: full on wealth redistribution.

We can argue whether that's a good thing or not, but not whether there's a slippery slope when it comes to implementing a new tax.


> Name one that has ever been repealed.

Taxes get repealed all the time. My province just repealed its carbon tax a few weeks ago: https://www.alberta.ca/carbon-tax-repeal.aspx


Tithe.

And even if I couldn't name a tax that was repealed, many are way lower than in the past.

Peasants would rebel because they'd be taxed to (literal!) death.


It's an easy question, have three.

Window tax. 1990s UK Poll tax. The luxury tax token system the US used before sales taxes.


In 1944 the highest US tax bracket was 94%

How many people actually paid that top rate? Or was that on paper only?

I'd happily go back to the effective rate of tax in 1944 if you are so willing.

If we're being facetious then I'm sure there will be plenty in France that are willing to compromise even more and go further back and implement the effective tax rate of 1794 on high earners.

GP asked for a tax that was repealed, not reduced.


The US just repealed and lowered some taxes a year and a half ago. Look back 4 or 5 decades US incomes taxes were way way way higher. You're simply wrong

> All taxes are a slippery slope. Name one that has ever been repealed. Income tax in the U.S. started out as a modest 3% on only the highest incomes and look where that has ended up: full on wealth redistribution.

> We can argue whether that's a good thing or not, but not whether there's a slippery slope when it comes to implementing a new tax.

Dude what? Wealth redistribution? Lots of countries have much higher taxes that actually redistribute that wealth. Don't call our system socialist, it isn't. Have you ever lived in socialism (I have)? It isn't even here in California!


> So any taxation is justified?

A corp will raise prices to whatever level the market will bear. Why shouldn't a society do the same with taxes?


A corp will raise prices to whatever level the market will bear. Why shouldn't a society do the same with taxes?

A corp exists in a competitive market and can rarely raise prices to "whatever level the market will bear". If I don't like their prices, I use their competitor.

What competitor does my mandatory government and it's confiscatory tax agency have? What alternative do I have but to hand over half my work to them to be frittered away on foreign wars and grants for indolence and incompetence?


What competitors will Amazon have in France if all the local competitors cannot escape paying local corporate taxes and Amazons of the word just throw a few millions at lawyers to shop around for the most convenient tax haven.

Ah yes, it is the lack of this tax that was preventing France from having their next Amazon. I am willing to bet significant amounts of money that even in 10 years France will have nothing even of remote resemblance of what Amazon was back in 2010, not even going to set the bar at what Amazon is today.

They are talking about physical shops. Which are also competitors of Amazon. And where does your assessment comes from? Just guess?

>They are talking about physical shops. Which are also competitors of Amazon.

Isn't that exactly what VAT tax is for?

>And where does your assessment comes from? Just guess?

An educated guess that I am strongly confident in, to the point of willing to bet most of my savings on it. And I am not the kind of person who would usually bet any money on anything at all. My most risky money bet so far is putting a portion of my paycheck in 401k.


VAT is a tax on consumption, corporate taxes are on profits (revenues in this case). If Amazon does not have to pay as high corporate taxes due to transfer pricing, then it can offer a lower net (pre-VAT) price so their products end up being cheaper to consumers driving away sales from other retailers. While competition, you may say it is 'unfair' competition.

And yes, this makes it very hard for new businesses to enter the market as they do not have the resources necessary to do tax optimization.


There is a "French Amazon" : cdiscount. They pay there tax in France. Amazon does not. How is it fair to them ?

I hope you're right. What Amazon is today is a grossly dysfunctional "marketplace", and I hope to see the end of it.

If tax was the burden from a French "Amazon" from founding, they also could easily have a shell in Ireland or Luxembourg. I don't see this at all as France trying to tax Amazon, et all from doing business in France. I see it as a pure money grab. Truly, this isn't really a tax, but more of a tariff. It should be called as such. Maybe it's equally applied against domestic companies and wouldn't be strictly a tariff, but it's intent is most certainly as a tariff.

Edit: I don't work for Amazon, though my brother does. I also don't work at a company that has much of a stake in this fight.


Because it's short sighted to over tax your citizens from both sides?

To this extent, countries compete on taxation and value-add for services. Perhaps country A charges more in taxes, but offers more education to its people, and a more educated workforce to hire from, while country B offers fewer of those amenities in exchange for lower taxes.

Inter-country competition helps to keep them honest, and corporations get to choose the luxury of where they operate from and do business out of.


What's missing is the luxury for individuals to also choose their countries based on the same parameters.

That's a very thoughtful reply to my off the cuff response. Corporations and people do get to shop both taxes and benefits, but most individuals seem to treat them like a genetic condition.

There's value in competition, because it's about the closest we've been able to get to evolution. The issue comes about when competition is lopsided - I can understand the complaint here from the French, but I don't care at all for their solution.


'Progressive' taxation (taxing higher individual incomes at higher rates) seemed arbitrary when it was introduced, too.

> That sounds arbitrary.

Administrative burden limits are not arbitrary. They are used in many places all over the world.


That does not make it not arbitrary, there is no logic in that statement.

> So any taxation is justified?

Yes. We have income tax in the US. It's the same thing.

Google doesn't have to pay the tax if they're not operating in the country. It says right there that if their revenues are +$25m a year, they are subject to the tax. Conversely, the US can also levy taxes against French digital services, and maybe they should.

My guess is the cost of not operating in France is much higher than the tax to do so, so that would be a silly maneuver.

Tangentially, I find it hilariously hypocritical that the Trump administration is whining about unfair tariffs on digital services.


> Those large tech companies can make money in France because the french government provides all that is necessary for a free, fair and functioning market. How could Google make money in France if there was no french police force, education system, market regulation, court system, contract enforcement?

Ignoring for a moment that this rationale can support any tax policy at all (including 100% tax rates)... This holds for all businesses, not just large tech companies. So why is the tax focused on the latter?


>Ignoring for a moment that this rationale can support any tax policy at all (including 100% tax rates)...

Isn't that true for any rationale for tax? I mean, I wasn't talking about tax rates, that's a completely separate discussion...

>This holds for all businesses, not just large tech companies. So why is the tax focused on the latter?

Because other businesses are already effectively taxed by existing laws. Overseas tech giants are targeted because they were legally avoiding existing taxes.


> This holds for all businesses, not just large tech companies. So why is the tax focused on the latter?

Because they are those who could and had the resources (legal and financial teams) to avoid said taxes, until now, and they happily did so (ie billing through Luxembourg or Irish post boxes). Not that I'd condemn it. Countries and laws were just to slow in catching up.

Most other businesses couldn't (and still can't) go around playing with loopholes because they don't have the means to and most of their goods are, well... physical.


> Because they are those who could and had the resources (legal and financial teams) to avoid sales taxes.

Many countries have laws that effectively say that you must follow the spirit of the law. This seems analogous. See GAAR in https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_avoidance


Because these large tech companies don't pay taxes currently. The current tax laws have a huge loophole in respect to large foreign internet businesses. Now they're trying to close that loophole.

I think it is impossible to sell anything in the EU without VAT, which is a much higher taxation rate than profit (not as percentage, but as money: VAT is 20-25% of the product or service price, profit can be as low as 1-5%. What the likes of Amazon, Google or Facebook are not paying is profit tax, pretending they have no profits. French companies that have no profits also don't pay profit tax.

Before the new VAT rules Amazon had a deal over VAT with Luxembourg, similar to the deal with Ireland on income tax.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-3701_en.htm


> Ignoring for a moment that this rationale can support any tax policy at all (including 100% tax rates)... This holds for all businesses, not just large tech companies. So why is the tax focused on the latter?

Other than the reasons the other replies have mentioned, it is also possible that enforcement isn't worth it for the smaller businesses (i.e. if they did apply to everybody they'd just lose money overall trying to get everybody to comply).


Just a reminder - some US states have sales taxes applied to Amazon purchases, even though they weren't charging them before. This is pretty much the same.

You sell a product, you pay a sales tax. Those states simply leveled the field for Amazon to compete on the same level as local retail stores that pay the sales tax, so everyone pays the same. Makes perfect sense.

And iirc Amazon already pays that in the form of VAT.


A free market transaction benefits both parties; both buyer and seller feel like they are better off as a result, otherwise they would not agree to the sale. Therefore, just as the French government can say that the American company is benefiting from French citizens, so the American government can claim that the French citizens are benefiting from American companies. A tax by either government inserts friction into the transaction and makes the deal less profitable on the party or parties that pay for the tax.

The French government is taxing businesses not because this is somehow morally right or efficient, but because it is easier than convincing its subjects/citizens that government services merit higher personal taxes.


What about the money the French make by using Google services? Desktop search traffic originating from Google is 90% - presumably for a good reason.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/220534/googles-share-of-...


The market already rewards Google for their services by the absurd amount of money they make. The government is generally not in the business of rewarding businesses for their services.

Well Google lost about 70 billion recently

Irrelevant.

You know perfectly well that this tax is exclusively to counter the tax burden shifting. If corporations were setting up companies in countries and paid reasonable taxes on profits generated in those countries... no one would raise the possibility of these taxes.


How much of that money is money that was going to be spent anyways? It's only money Google "made" for the French if it wasn't going to be spent in France in the first place.

It's not the quantity of money spent that matters, but rather the value received in exchange. People spent their money at e.g. Amazon because that is where they expected to receive the most value for it. Take that option away and the money will still be spent but the value received in return will be less.

Those large tech companies can make money in France because the french government provides all that is necessary for a free, fair and functioning market.

Staying out of the way? They can do that for free.


Capitalist governments do not stay out of the way - take a look at the volume of corporate law. (That's in addition to healthcare, education, policing, building industry regulation, etc)

It's not free and fair if a tax is written to target 30 companies, is it?

How is it any less fair than the tariffs that Trump is throwing on anyone that pissed in his corn flakes that morning?

> How could Google make money in France if there was no french police force, education system, market regulation, court system, contract enforcement?

It's not like they don't already pay taxes. This is an additional tax on top of all the other ones.


>How could Google make money in France if there was no french police force, education system, market regulation, court system, contract enforcement?

By showing ads.

Ads only need eyeballs to make money.


Ads don't make money from thin air; someone pays for those ads. Google accesses a market of French advertisers, and that market exists because of French government.

(Also, arguably, French eyeballs are a resource belonging to France, which Google exploits.)


There are plenty of global advertisers/propagandists willing to pay Google to manipulate the french people. Claiming someone's eyeballs are owned by a government is silly.

> Google accesses a market of French advertisers, and that market exists because of French government.

Why don't you try justifying that one? Because I posit that if the French government didn't exist the market would exist anyway.


Yeah. In the same way the Somalian market did in the 2000s.

The market would exist, but it's value wouldn't be anywhere near valuable for online advertising.

Without a government the only way of maintaining your wealth is being a warring faction. Those rarely require advertising online.


Without government or with a dysfunctional government that is not able to enforce security and laws that businesses rely on, there would be chaotical environment leading to increased poverty, see the Middle East mess. There would always be some demand for things and thus some kind of market, but it would look quite differently from markets in western countries.

Anyway, the ultimate authority on which taxes and to what percentage will be imposed is the guy with the most power to execute decisions in the country. In France, that guy is the France government. You may think that this particular new rule is unfair, but I think the lawmakers do not care. There are already many taxes that are unfair from certain points of view, such as income tax. Life in a country run by a government is not fair, if you interact with the country, you have to obey its laws, the government is not interested whether you agree with them (that is, unless there is many of you so you can get together and put pressure on the government).


The great lawless free market utopia that every libertarian wet dreams of

Please don't post unsubstantive comments here, and especially not ideological flamebait. It leads to ideological flamewars, which are a low form of discussion that we're trying not to get sucked into here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


How does your comment respond to my question? Your comment adds nothing to the discussion, it's just lazy nonsense that a child could have come up with.

Please don't respond to a bad comment by breaking the guidelines yourself. That only makes this place even worse.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


How can the eyeballs in France view ads if there was chaos outside, and gangs started to cut internet cables? How can eyeballs view ads if they didn't learn from French schools how to go to Google.com and enter search queries?

You missed the question. why is France charging tax to these particular companies? As opposed to all companies?

Your answer makes no distinction between them so doesn't actually answer the question.


The reason is because they setup their company legal structures to avoid paying tax, either in France or the US.

Then the US every decade or so gives a money repatriation tax amnesty, effectively providing huge subsidies to US firms dodging all these taxes.

So the government decided to setup a new tax they couldn't. Can't really blame them.


that's the point the French are bringing up. French companies pay French taxes. Internet companies serve French markets, take French money, but pay taxes elsewhere, and often they pay no taxes because they can shop around to find a friendly tax haven that doesn't charge them taxes.

This is only possible because internet. So, they're imposing a tax on companies that serve French customers via the internet but aren't based in France, so that all companies pay tax again.

Does that make sense?


Why isn't the solution then to force all companies doing business in France to register with the French government and pay taxes on the portion of revenues derived from France?

How do you think the tax system works?

As soon as you do business,you have to register yourself to the "tax office"..

Now you structure you company in such a way, that the company pays more money for the trademarks of your partner company, than you make.

Now of course, that is something a small company with 50 people can't do.

So the company with 50 people can't make ends meet, and the company which makes 200 million, continous to make money hand over fist.


It is almost already the case. However, there is a loophole. To avoid crashing starting businesses, the current tax is on profits, not on revenues. What big internet companies like Google and Apple do is splitting their companies in several entities. One entity is making the revenues. The other is "administrative services". The administrative one, located in a low-tax country, bills (highly) the one that makes the revenues. So the revenues are made in rich european countries, but the profits are made in the low-tax ones. (The example is oversimplified, but you get the idea). This is clearly cheating, but it's legal. Europe didn't manage to close the loophole because of the countries who profit from it. And no single cheated country has yet acted because the US backs this behavior.

Considering only foreign ones (local ones are already covered), the first explanation I can find is that for most of them it would just be an expensive and pointless exercise.

The time and costs involved to setup, maintain and enforce such a system would be ridiculously high compared to what it would bring in.

Another answer (still only considering foreign businesses) would be that for companies making so little, the burden could be much greater, hindering their growth (and future taxability).

And that's just from the tip of my head


It's probably forbidden by EU regulations.

Then they would shift net profit to a more favorable environment, i.e. by paying some contrived royalties to the Irish sister company?

That's exactly what they are currently doing. Current tax law applies to profits, so they shift them to ireland.

> So, they're imposing a tax on companies that serve French customers via the internet but aren't based in France

Actually, this would be unconstitutionnal. French companies meeting the criteria will also pay taxes.


Companies providing services in France typically pay VAT, corporate income taxes or similar.

This tax is specifically on revenue that doesn't do that.

(Not that I am a proponent of this tax)


One cannot sell adds to French companies without paying VAT. That is plain illegal and there is no way to go around it, it's on the invoice.

Because other companies are already covered by tax laws.

They try fooling around with said laws, but for them it's illegal and they better not get caught.


1. Satellites

2. You don't need French schools to learn how to Google things


Why would anyone advertise to french customers if there is no functioning french economy, and thus no money to be made there? How would french consumers pay for satellite access without a functioning economy?

The next installment of the Mad Max franchise will focus on a fearless Amazon courier driving around in the lawless postapocalyptic wasteland, delivering smart speakers and juice presses to scattered communities of ragtag survivors.

>Why would anyone advertise to french customers if there is no functioning french economy

Political propaganda/advertising is a great investment in times of choas/crisis.

>How would french consumers pay for satellite access without a functioning economy?

Use crypto currency or foreign currencies.


I'm devil's advocating here a bit, but how do you make money showing ads when the people those ads are targetting can't read, have no money and don't own a computer?

Advertising needs a luxury tax for wasting peoples attention, preventing them from being productive and encouraging unhealthy habits - like alcohol and cigarettes.

Agreed. Also don't forget the massive contribution advertising has to ecological destruction by creating insatiable consumerism.

Nope.

They need a sufficient internet infrastructure. People with access to it.

People with money to spend.

People with enough peace of mind to spend it on something else than absolute essentials.

People with enough peace of mind and free time to leisurely waste on mostly useless websites.

People to whom the physical goods of a great number of their advertisers can be delivered (infrastructure & post system).

Eyeballs alone are worthless.

The differences in CPC between an affluent white male working in tech in San Francisco and a poor black woman selling peanuts on the street in Rufisque, Senegal (which isn't even the most extreme opposite one could think of) is proof of that.


Nah, the internet functions fine without the French government, and people are always looking to exploit the poor and helpless.

>The differences in CPC between an affluent white male working in tech in San Francisco and a poor black woman selling peanuts on the street in Rufisque, Senegal (which isn't even the most extreme opposite one could think of) is proof of that.

Why then are advertising giants like FB so eagerly expanding into "3rd world" markets and offering "free internet"?


So, you think the French networking infrastructure builds and maintains itself? Companies tend to only build infrastructures in very populated areas where it will quickly turn to profit. French government and collectivities have to incentivize, legalize and pay for them to properly cover the territory. (and to this day there are still a few zones where internet is only available through satellite).

Who do you think built most of the historical (56k & ADSL) network in France?

The French government.

As for expanding into "3rd world" markets, the average monthly Senegalese salary appears to be 139€. And this is a country considered to be doing well in the region.

They're expanding and offering "free internet" because there's nowhere else to go. Because even though it's poor now, there's growth, and they want to be established and deeply encroached when those markets will become worth it. Because they believe better and wider internet coverage will spur even more growth.

The only reason these companies can exist and be worth anything today is because of all the groundwork and investment that has been and continuously is made.


They have saturation, or as near as they are likely to get, of the valuable eyeballs.

Where else could they expand?


Why would they invest so heavily there if there was nothing to be gained?

Not nothing. Market maximising - if there's nowhere else to sell in the developed world, go to the developing world and take 5% or whatever their margin is, on a much lower value of sales (for now).

I'd say it's pretty obviously a calculated risk that they'll develop in value once hooked. Didn't Facebook have a scheme that gave net access in the developing world that re-created the AOL model? Free internet, but it's only FB internet.

The complete or comparative lack of regulation in many areas probably encourages too.

Worked for tobacco companies, works for most other industries.


"What public resources did Amazon, a US company, use from France?"

off the top of my head, I'm sure there are lots more:

- a large set of well-off consumers who got there because of free public education, parental supports, et cetera

- a safe society so drop shipping is possible

- roads & infrastructure for shipping

- a justice system that protects Amazon from cheating buyers and sellers

- a stable, accepted currency

- no need for large numbers of armed guards at warehouses, protecting shipments, et cetera

- a functioning health & welfare system so can get away with paying employees & contractors peanuts

- a pool of employees and contractors who were supported by society growing up

and much more, I'm sure.


>- roads & infrastructure for shipping

Their whole point was that the shipper would pay taxes. Which they do. This applies to most of your points as well, they do get taxed on their warehouses.

What I find most comical about all this is there's already a 20% VAT on everything Amazon sells there. They do pay taxes already, France simply wants more, and this tax is written in a way where it will have a much larger effect on external companies than internal.


As far as I understand VAT's role in the economy, the Value Added Tax is offset to the last link of a value-adding chain: the consumer.

This creates the incentive of further adding value to a product/service and thus creating more economic output.

Amazon may be paying other taxes, but VAT is paid by the consumer.


It's a sales tax. In the EU it's fitted into the price the consumer sees. From every sale Amazon makes 20% of that is going to the government.

You could easily argue every tax on Amazon is a tax on the consumer. If you increase the cost of Amazon doing business, prices go up.


Just because the seller is responsible for transferring the tax revenue to the tax office does not mean that the seller is the one paying it.

In France businesses do not pay VAT, only consumers do. Business do collect it (on behalf of the state), but they never have to pay it themselves (technically: they get a refund when they do)

Vat isn't paid on the ad space these companies sell to other foreign businesses.


VAT is an interesting one, since Amazon isn't even affected by VAT. It's easy to reduce VAT liability altogether.

This tax is a crude corporate income tax replacement.


Amazon cannot go around VAT, it is paying it in full to the state; Amazon's customer can deduct VAT if the customer is a business and it is using the product in the production of other products or services that are sold and VAT is collected. The state collects VAT in the end, no matter what.

Amazon doesn't pay the VAT it collects it for the state.

All of those can be applied to any company however. By this logic, they should add a +3% tax on every foreign business.

None of this is true. It is a protectionist / anti-tax evasion measure primarily. It can be justified considering the threat that amazon poses in local markets


I don't know why you just ignore to comment on the justification given: that big tech companies engage in blatant tax evasion.

not sure what you mean

Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich. Companies like google can charge their profitable branches in other countries royalties to use Google software or platform moving the profits out of a higher tax country like France into Ireland where there's little to no tax. Even after they patched the Dutch part that allowed even the marginal Irish taxes to be avoided companies can still artificially lower their profit by transferring IP to an Irish company and charging for it's use.

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/double-irish-with-a-dut...


Has any country explored options for shifting to a revenue tax to eliminate such games entirely?

It is done intentionally by countries like Ireland that otherwise would have zero interest from any investors. And this loophole is actually the foundation of the EU free market: you can produce something in a country, sell in another one, pay VAT in the destination country but pay profit taxes in the origin country. What France and others want is to pay profit taxes also in the destination country, on top of VAT.

This tax is exactly that.

I don't know honestly. Seems like a tough road to go down because there are legitimate ways for a business to have high revenues relative to their profits like low margin businesses and you don't want to stamp them out accidentally targeting this kind of dodge.

Tax cross-country licensing fees at some absurd rate.

yes of course how did i ignore to comment. i said

> It is a protectionist / anti-tax evasion measure primarily


He's saying that this tax exists because large tech companies are in a position to easily evade the taxes that most businesses have to pay.

Foreign business which are not internet based pay taxes. Your point is irrelevant.

Foreign businesses that deliver products and services from local branches, without IP value shifting - pay enough taxes to not be a problem.

> All of those can be applied to any company however.

And they tax any company that fits the profile, be they German, Japanese, Chinese, French, or, god forbid, US-American.


> By this logic, they should add a +3% tax on every foreign business.

That's precisely what a tariff is.


And those large corps are providing jobs to those employees nurtured by the state, being paid taxable income.

>I disagree with that framework but applying taxes arbitrarily hardly seems fair or the best way to raise revenue.

There's nothing arbitrary here, in fact they're attempting to partially address a perverse incentive to take all your business online and do some jurisdiction arbitrage to minimize corporate taxes. This gives you an unfair advantage over, say, a brick-and-mortar store or a physical ad agency in Paris that's trying to compete online.

Taxes are not just about revenue, they are often about changing incentives (for the better if used well, for the worse if used without regard for unintended consequences).

>Much of the edge Amazon has versus local retailers is that it is more efficient.

Much, but not all. This addresses an additional edge Amazon has versus local retailers.


I'm trying to follow the argument in good faith, so bear with me...

> This gives you an unfair advantage over, say, a brick-and-mortar store or a physical ad agency in Paris that's trying to compete online.

Are you sure it's "an unfair advantage" and not just "an advantage"? Doesn't your position presume that the brick-and-mortar business model deserves special protection? If so, why? If not, what then is unfair about "jurisdiction arbitrage".

> Taxes are not just about revenue, they are often about changing incentives

What is the implied incentive in this case? It seems like it's just incentivizing a brick and mortar business model, but it's not clear why this is inherently virtuous.

> This addresses an additional edge Amazon has versus local retailers.

Doesn't this all point to a fundamental problem with "corporate tax"? Wouldn't it be better (fairer) to reduce or remove corporate tax and raise sales tax or similar, such that it doesn't matter whether the business has a presence in the country in question? I'm not very knowledgable about the topic, so I'm hoping someone can set me straight.


>Are you sure it's "an unfair advantage" and not just "an advantage"? Doesn't your position presume that the brick-and-mortar business model deserves special protection? If so, why?

Because it employs more people and pays taxes locally. It's perfectly valid for the government to ignore that and focus solely on the consumer side (i.e. minimize prices), but it's also perfectly valid (and economically sound) to do what France is doing.

>What is the implied incentive in this case? It seems like it's just incentivizing a brick and mortar business model

No, it is not incentivizing it. It levels the playing field a bit by applying more consistent taxation.

>Doesn't this all point to a fundamental problem with "corporate tax"? Wouldn't it be better (fairer) to reduce or remove corporate tax and raise sales tax or similar, such that it doesn't matter whether the business has a presence in the country in question?

I can be persuaded by that argument (economists do love consumption taxes for a reason, after all), but either way it's not for Amazon to decide. In France, it is for the French people to decide, via their representatives. Whatever positive or negative consequences arise are also theirs to bear.


> > Doesn't this all point to a fundamental problem with "corporate tax"? Wouldn't it be better (fairer) to reduce or remove corporate tax and raise sales tax or similar, such that it doesn't matter whether the business has a presence in the country in question?

Well, now you run into the problem of progressive vs regressive taxation. Since consumption taxes, as the name implies, tax consumption, and the poor have a marginal propensity to consume of almost 1.0 while the wealthy can have an extremely low marginal propensity to consume, it's reasonable to conclude that consumption taxes are taxing the people who are least able to pay and who would already be spending that money anyways. You're taking away money that would already have stimulated the economy elsewhere.

Taxing the poor runs into these kind of zero-sum problems much more quickly. The rich tend to save or are more able to engage in activities which produce products of much more questionable economic value (i.e., bitcoin farms, copyright trolls, rent-seeking, etc.). Obviously investment has value, but in economic terms it may or may not generate a commensurate amount of wealth.


I think you meant to respond to me as the quoted portion is mine. Anyway, this is a really interesting perspective that I hadn’t considered. Is this a pretty accepted perspective on consumption tax? If no, what is the counterargument?

> Are you sure it's "an unfair advantage" and not just "an advantage"?

Having the option to not comply with laws, is an unfair advantage.

>reduce or remove corporate tax and raise sales tax or similar

VAT is a sales tax, effectively, but even that is managed away fairly easy. It's an efficient tax, but when it comes to B2B activity it's effectively unpaid. Amazon, though is a retailer, has a very large amount of B2B business.


> Having the option to not comply with laws, is an unfair advantage.

All parties in this scenario are legally compliant.

> VAT is a sales tax, effectively, but even that is managed away fairly easy. It's an efficient tax, but when it comes to B2B activity it's effectively unpaid. Amazon, though is a retailer, has a very large amount of B2B business.

How does its B2B business help Amazon evade taxes? When I think about AWS, the billing doesn’t seem to lend itself to any obvious sales tax evasion schemes...


> All parties in this scenario are legally compliant.

They were complaint with the letter of the law, but the law makers decided that the companies were not complaint with the original spirit of the law. So they introduced a new law so that all parties can also be complaint with the spirit.

In software engineering terms, the written down code was not producing intended behavior. So new code has been written to deal with this bug.


That seems like a reasonable history of the events, but I don't think it supports the original position that these tech companies had an unfair advantage. Or if it does, only for some definition of "fairness" that is subject to the whims of (biased) French legislators.

"Are you sure it's "an unfair advantage" and not just "an advantage"? "

Good question. I thought there may be some kind of legal definition for this but it seems quite fuzzy.

You could take the view that these companies were paying all required taxes, so this would be fair. Or you could take the view that direct competitors were having to pay taxes that they were able to avoid, which would make it unfair?

I suppose ultimately its a moral judgement, so there isn't really a right answer.


With respect, you do not understand the logic behind taxes, much less the logic behind taxing international businesses.

> The idea behind taxes is that you use some public resource and you pay for that service

You are framing taxes as if the government is a business selling people health care, fire protection, security, and infrastructure.

I benefit from infrastructure I don't personally use. For example, even if I am a healthy individual, I benefit from healthcare! Healthy people get and keep their jobs, get paid, and spend their money on Netflix, Uber, Lyft, and/or Disney. Lemme look... Yup, Netflix, Uber, Lyft, and Disney are all customers of my employer, who pays me, so I benefit indirectly from Healthcare.

That is one tiny example, but the actual principle behind taxation works this way: Everyone benefits indirectly from a functioning society.

(We sometimes tax people just for the things they use, but generally we do this to limit undesirable "tragedy of the commons" problems. Consumption taxes, vice taxes, and the issue of regressive taxation is outside the scope of this reply.)

The idea behind taxation is that everyone benefits, therefore everyone pays. Now we are talking about a company located outside of a country, benefitting from that country being a functioning economy.

Just as I benefit from infrastructure I don't use because I benefit from my country having a thriving, healthy populace with disposable income, so does the company selling things to the exact same populace.

Now just move this such that we are discussing France instead of Canada, and there is the actual logic: These internet companies benefit from France having a functioning economy with a populace that has disposable income to spend, so they should support that by paying taxes.

In sum, the flaw in your explanation begins with your model for why people and corporations pay taxes in the first place, and how they benefit from those taxes.


Prosperity is causally prior to taxation, not the other way around. To quote the great Bryan Caplan, "It takes a colossal host to sustain colossal parasitism."

The flaw of this argument that government is selling services is that the government is not selling, it is forcibly collecting money for some vague promises of services. When you buy something in the store the owner doesn't point a gun at your head asking for the money.

Your reply is a great example of why talking about taxes in an open forum is often a waste of time.

We start with a discussion about whether this one particular tax is reasonable or unreasonable because of jurisdiction issues, and before long you realize that a bunch of the people arguing against that tax don't really care about the jurisdiction issue, their real agenda is that they don't want any taxes, any governments, or any societies.

You are entitled to your beliefs, of course, but you really shouldn't respond to me. You should just post at the top level that not only should France not tax internet giants, but it shouldn't tax its citizens or anyone else.


You made the point of the government selling services, not about France taxes. I responded to that point.

Ah.

Well, I was arguing that the government is NOT in the business of selling services, and that is why taxes for the mot part are not based on consumption.

Ideally—from my perspective as a product member of the Socialist Republic of Kanuckistan—taxes based on consumption are not about “fairness” but about creating disincentives for undesirable exploitation of resources.


You don't understand it because it is strictly a philosophical difference of yours. You operate in the paradigm of taxation == fees or penalties imposed on people and corporations by the goverment. It is seen as strictly a negative thing. The opposite idea is that taxation is an /investment/ by corporations and individuals, directed and designed by the government, to allow society to keep running smoothly. You may not always see the effects as they often are indirect, but they are important.

The difficulty for most Americans is seeing taxation as a long term benefit rather than as a penalty, as no one is able to look past the fact that they feel forced into paying them.


I don't "feel" forced into paying them. I AM forced into paying them.

> no one is able to look past the fact that they feel forced into paying them.

This is rather dismissive of a broad category of valid complaints a group feels.

The US Government uses tax revenue to fund many things, but some of those things are horrifically misguided wars and a global military empire.

is that global military empire an investment? If I had the _option_ of contributing money to the US military, I would never pay a penny to it.

Do the benefit of these "investments" to keep (USA) society running smoothly outweigh the millions of lives lost to misguided wars over the last 50 years?

I'd say no. It's unethical for me to elevate my _possibly_ elevated standard of living over the lives lost and ruined via the Vietnam war, Afghanistan war, Iraqi war, and countless other instances where the US military has ruined communities and countries.


Whether you feel forced or not has little to do with whether you are forced to or not. I don't feel forced to even though I am because I understand and appreciate what I get in return. I would want to pay for these things anyways if taxation didn't exist.

I agree on the war front but that can only be changed from within and would exist with taxation or not only without taxation it would be a far more violent experience for you.


Taxation is mandatory and evading taxation is punished by prison in most cases. Investments are optional and not investing does not carry prison sentences. It's the same difference between consensual sex and rape: the consent.

>It is seen as strictly a negative thing.

Negative because of magnitude. I don't think anything except for the most die-hard libertarians want 0 taxes. Stop unnecessary staw-manning.

>The opposite idea is that taxation is an /investment/ by corporations and individuals, directed and designed by the government,

People dislike it because it is seen as a terrible investment. ROI is extremely low on tax dollars. There is just no incentive for efficiency. Arguably stuff like medicare and social security is just pure consumption. 0 wealth is generated there. Stuff that can be classified as investment takes like <20% of the budget.

>...to allow society to keep running smoothly.

Many argue that most of what the government spends money on is unnecessary. The amount of money absolutely necessary to keep things running smoothly is thought to be less than what is spent now. The budget could be cut in half, many people would be mad or sad, but its not like the country would fall apart. At its core, all a government __needs as a bare minimum to be classified as such__ is to provide is military protection and a legal system, because those things are what government cannot be defined without.

>The difficulty for most Americans is seeing taxation as a long term benefit rather than as a penalty.

You are making an assumption that tax = good and More tax = more good. This isn't a "difficulty in seeing" for those that disagree. Perhaps people who disagree aren't dumb or have the misfortune of not being blessed with enlightenment such that they agree with you.

Money transferred to the government doesn't become magically different or something. There is no 'moral correctness' in transferring money to the government. It just takes agency away from individual citizens and grants it to a bunch of people who don't care at all about losing a few billion here and there.


> What public resources did Amazon, a US company, use from France?

Digital infrastructure, anti-poverty programs that mean potential customers still have something to spend, financial infrastructure, legislation, ...


Shouldn't that be covered by the 20% VAT that Amazon pays on goods and services sold to entities in France?

No.

VAT is basically a tax paid by people. Companies don’t really pay VAT, they collect it from the end-customers and pass it to the state.

Relying on VAT alone skews the burden of financing the state on the people only, which means no participation from the companies that make money without directly contributing to the country’s expenses they benefit from.

It also disproportionately disadvantages companies that also employ people and have a physical presence in France and have to pay taxes.


...Who do you think ultimately owns these companies? Something besides people?

Those are not the people that pay VAT, especially not if they're not located in the country that charges the VAT.

Not only that, what makes you think corporate tax is paid only by shareholders rather than customers and employees?

A business needs capital to get started -- otherwise the founders wouldn't have to give ownership stakes to capitalists. But the capitalists also have the option to put their money in real estate or bonds or companies that sell to other countries etc. A company has to beat the after-tax ROI of those things in order to raise the money it needs -- so if the taxes go up, the ROI goes down, and they need to squeeze somebody else for the rest of the money, like customers and employees. Which, when it happens to every competing business in your country, they can do since no one can undercut them for the same reason they can't charge any less or pay employees any more and still raise capital -- everyone now has higher capital costs. The capitalists can move their money to an investment in another country more easily than the customers and employees can move around, so who eats the cost?

Ah ha, you say, but what about the companies that are no longer raising capital? Facebook is an established business. They don't need to raise any further capital, so their capital costs are irrelevant and we can tax those foolish capitalists who invested in them without expecting us to raise their taxes just as they were starting to see a return on their high risk investment. Which is true, except that you just convinced investors that it's not worth investing in a prospective competitor and have thereby entrenched Facebook's market position. Oops.


And you think this new surcharge won’t be passed onto the consumers in France?

It will be, ending the unfair competitive benefits of tax avoidance big Internet companies currently enjoy in much of Europe.

It will, but it'll not be above what the market is willing to bear. Right now digital services are charged at the level that a market can bear, but only digital services are the ones that don't get taxed.

To make stuff fair - you'd have to cut all other taxes or institute this one.

(I'd prefer no taxes, but that's never going to happen)


This is the biggest fallacy about taxation, if they could charge whatever the price+tax is, they already would be.

It’s not a fallacy. They charge to maximize revenue. If they charge more, people buy less. If their cost to produce goes up, their optimal price likely goes up, depending on elasticity.

This is Econ 101. Draw some supply-demand curves, compute total profit, increase costs, and see how the optimal point moves on the curve.

Historically companies do raise prices as cost to produce increases.


Is VAT paid when Google shows an American ad to a French person?

The tax is on "digital services". It's unclear if the tax is on physical services from digital companies.


Amazon is not paying the VAT, the customer is. They are just here to collect it.

it doesn't really matter who pays the tax; it's pretty much orthogonal to tax burden. see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_incidence

It should. And if it were just that, then we'd not have this conversation at all. This is a very specific law targeting specific economic activity.

When it comes to B2B VAT is inconsequential for Amazon. Amazon is only affected by VAT when Amazon is the seller of a physical product to a consumer. Otherwise there's literally no impact on Amazon.


Amazon doesn't pay VAT, the consumer does

In the case of Amazon there's a clear protectionist argument to be made. It will kill local businesses and send a bigger share of the profit to an American company. Replace jobs in those small independent businesses by underpaid corporate jobs at Walmart 2.0. Amazon is in a position where it can sell items at a loss for years just for the sake of killing small competitors. Granted, maybe it's the role of antitrust laws to take care of that rather than taxes, but I'm generally in favor of slowing down Amazon, if only to give other players a chance to grow before Amazon takes everything. The problem with antitrust laws is that they will come and slap Bezos with a tiny fine 3 years after Amazon has unfairly killed competitors.

If you want to tax and regulate Facebook, etc., I think the argument is much less clear, especially if those regulations are just going to cement Facebook's position against possible newcomers.


Rather than focusing on a particular company (Amazon) or even a particular industry (retail), they're addressing a more fundamental problem - digital businesses using arbitrage to virtually "move" profits around and minimize corporate income tax - something that's inherent to their business model and creates an (allegedly) unfair advantage.

The idea behind taxes is that society needs government and government needs money, that’s it. Some taxes are connected to the use of specific public resources, but many are not. What do my income taxes pay for? The answer is basically “everything.”

The actual principle behind taxation is that we siphon some money off to pay for the common needs because the free market is great at allocating the correct number of shoe stores to a town and worthless at making it possible to live in that town.

Taking from foreigners so long as it isn't so much that they are discouraged from doing business is a plus in that it increases the welfare of your people at the expense of the other guys people.

This is the actual theory of taxation and everything else is after the fact justification.


> The other theories of taxation is that it should be used to raise revenue from the best means possible. I disagree with that framework but applying taxes arbitrarily hardly seems fair or the best way to raise revenue.

Economists have known for 100 years that land value taxes (LVT) are by far the most efficient way to raise taxes. After that consumption taxes are the next most efficient. Corporate taxes and taxes on investment income are one of the least efficient, most distortionary, forms of taxation.

Yet policymakers and voters show no sign of changing their opinions, despite how much economic evidence continues to pile up. LVTs are extremely unpopular, because home ownership is fetishized by the middle class as a vehicle for wealth accumulation. Even in progressive polities like California, there's always tremendous political will to keep residential property taxes artificially low.

VAT taxes are almost just as despised, especially in America. Meanwhile higher corporate and investment taxes are supported by large majorities. Despite the fact that they impose serious drags on productivity and growth. If your goals is having a more progressive tax code or increasing income equality, the much better strategy is to combine high LVT/VAT taxes with a UBI, rather than explicitly try to target poorly designed tax schemes at rich people.


Much of this is because of information distortion - when the state directly collects an LVT from homeowners or a VAT from consumers, every individual citizen is aware of that tax and feels the pain of it. When they collect a tax from corporations, only the corporation feels it as a tax, and they raise their prices to compensate for losses from it, and the consumer instead sees it as simply the price of goods. The consumer has no information for what things would have cost without the tax, so they simply accept it as how things are. Meanwhile, the beneficial effects of an LVT or VAT all appear in reduced opportunity costs (the price of housing comes down, the prices of consumer goods more truly reflect supply & demand), so they're completely unaware of them.

It makes me wonder, now that cryptocurrency is a thing, if fiscal policy could be embedded directly in the monetary system. Rather than a separate tax that's charged and remitted to the treasury, it'd simply be the difference between what a consumer spends and what a producer receives, much like how transaction fees come straight out of the transaction.


> If your goals is having a more progressive tax code or increasing income equality, the much better strategy is to combine high LVT/VAT taxes with a UBI, rather than explicitly try to target poorly designed tax schemes at rich people.

Effectiveness of UBI is still an area of much debate and research. Early results of this research based on a few pilots is decidedly not positive.


LVT and VAT are considered effective because they're hard to dodge and easy to collect.

They pose major problems in terms of tax fairness though. The reason for this is that VAT efects the poorer disproportionately (poor people spends almost 100% of their income, while richer people won't spend a larger fraction of their revenue) while LVT targets the middle class (AKA those that don't have enough capital to diversify their assets and invest beyond their home).


> The idea behind taxes is that you use some public resource and you pay for that service.

That's pretty clearly not the operative principal behind most taxation. Even the examples you gave mostly contradict it: if the point were to make people pay for services they use, then public schools would just charge tuition. As for gasoline taxes, I mostly hear politicians discuss them as an environmental measure; it never even occurred to me that they could be a fee for using roads. And that's not to mention things like income taxes, where the the poor, who use the most public services, pay the least.

> The other theories of taxation is that it should be used to raise revenue from the best means possible. I disagree with that framework…

This seems like a very radical position. "x should be done by the best means possible" is almost a tautology. Can you explain what you mean?

I think that France should levy any taxes that would benefit its people. Some taxes are bad, because eg. they hurt the economy enough to outweigh the benefit of increased revenues. In other cases, it's the reverse. In any case, what matters in the end is the public welfare. Do you disagree?


Your stated view of taxation is oversimplified. Certainly some taxes can be viewed as fee-for-service, others are protectionist or strategic, or otherwise effect policy.

If you want a simplified version, you are better off thinking of it something like this: The purpose of taxation is to capture a fraction of the economic activity and use that to fund the business of government.

(this doesn't capture explicit redistribution, but keeps it simple)


Even staying with the framework of "public resource use". They benefit from the attractive market created by the country. An educated, safe and healthy population with high bandwidth internet with disposable income ready to buy on Amazon.

The idea behind taxation is "the government needs money to function, and it alone has the authority to take it by force". Anything else is a post hoc justification.

Exactly. The French government decided that businesses should be taxed for profits made from French consumers. Some businesses found a loop hole using the laws of other EU countries to avoid paying those taxes, and now the government of France decided to plug that loop hole simply because they have the will and the way.

There's not really anything else to it.


Yeah I think Americans often look for economic incentives behind policy and think taxes are carefully chosen. Most Europeans know basically if there is money there it'll get taxed sooner or later.

It's simple, in France there is this idea that everyone should contribute to "national solidarity" according to how much they can afford. Internet giant are very rich so they should contribute a lot, and currently there is a sentiment that they don't contribute as much as they should, so this law is simply starting to fix that.

And it's a bit rich that, at the same time the US is unhappy with France france over this, the US is imposing on the French economy via FATCA and FBAR.

> The idea behind taxes is that you use some public resource and you pay for that service. You own a home in a neighborhood, you pay property tax that funds the schools.

It seems like you're contradicting yourself: why would you fund schools just because you own a property? By your reasoning, you should have a children tax, not a property tax.


As much as I loathe to word it way, the public resource is the French citizen. Or, the citizen of the country.

If Amazon bypasses it with gig economy logic then they are depriving the country of tax they would have paid through traditional means.

Amazon owes tax to France for as long as it maintains a workforce out there. They shouldn’t be able to dodge it by treating employees as contractors or having offices in Luxembourg.


Amazon is paying taxes for the employees in France; when using contractors, the contractors pay their taxes there. This law is about something else.

The logic behind taxation is that if governments are able to extract money from any activity without causing a revolution or foreign invasion they do it.

I doubt French people will revolt against taxing Google or US Marines will invade France.


Corporations are terrible for many reasons.

- They have a monopolostic unfair advantage over some market which means that they can be very innefficient and still survive. They hinder real innovation.

- As stated in the article, they often pay little to no tax because of their accounting practices; they get all the legal benefits of being treated as an independent entity under the law but none of the costs.

- They are constantly lobbying politicians to change the laws to benefit them at the expense of tax payers.

- As a consequence of being well promoted on various stock markets, corporations tend to get a lot of easy money from investors; these investors include large 401k and superanuation funds which invest money into stocks without the knowledge of the regular working people whose salaries are paying for it. A lot of the new money which the Fed creates goes straight to corporations because of this.

- Corporations are also bad because they hurt free speech and they have the power to manipulate the elections by coercing their employees. The people who control corporations think in black and white and simplistic terms. They think they have all the answers to our socioeconomic problems. They don't understand that they are the problem. They don't understand that fairness is very difficult to achieve and that huge centralized power concentrated in the hands of a tiny number of financially incentivised decision makers opens up massive cracks (blind spots) in the system for the majority of people to fall through.

IMO, you cannot tax them enough. This is a great bold move by the French government. It's great to see a country in which democracy still works for the people.


Totally. Don't tax them. They don't need it.

The don't need property rights either. No legal redress. Access to the economy enabled by having a stable, democratic system? Well they probably should only be allowed to have the customer base they would have if life expectancy was around 50 due to cholera and so on and that part of disposable income that remains when everyone is sick all the time. Contracts aren't binding to their counter-parties. And they are banned from hiring anyone who is educated. They can treat their own water, and put in their own plumbing systems, based on market rates for doing that themselves.

But then how do you deal with national defence contributions because obviously not being invaded is kind of useful. National parks? Well while the company doesn't use them, the people who make up the company do and user pays can't work for that. But even if individual people don't use them, they get to live in a place where people are happier because national parks exist.

Do I need to go on with this? They literally make zero profit and in fact can't exist at all without tax being paid.

Tax cheats just want to cheat the system and make someone else pay while they reap the benefits. Cheating is cheating.


You don't like those taxes?

Go to China.

They steal your stuff without any chance of a legal battle?

Well... There is your reason for those taxes.


> I never understood the logic behind taxing large internet businesses.

> The idea behind taxes is that you use some public resource and you pay for that service. You own a home in a neighborhood, you pay property tax that funds the schools. You drive a car, you pay gasoline tax that funds the streets. You hire workers locally, you pay the tax to pay back all the contributions public institutions made to adding the skills to the worker.

Taxation is used to encourage activities the govt thinks are beneficial to society, and discourage activities that are detrimental. In the US, married couples and those with children get tax breaks. This in spite of the fact that children use government services, accruing greater public costs. However the powers that be find it beneficial to encourage marriage and family building, I suppose because it hypothetically leads to greater stability and encourages more long term participation in the economy (can't quit your job and travel the world if you have kids to support).

So in short yes, the government can and does tax (or exempt from tax) whatever or whoever it wants, within the limits of the country's constitution and their courts' interpretation thereof. There is no requirement that it be directly correlated to a service the government provides.

Leveling the playing field wrt the inherent advantages that a large tech firm benefits from (economies of scale) does seem to be within the reasonable purview of a government which wants to protects its constituents from a tendency of the free market towards monopolization. This tax encourages competition by smaller players, which keeps Amazon honest. It is only not necessary if you trust Amazon to always act in the best interests of the consumer even after stamping out all competition.


>(can't quit your job and travel the world if you have kids to support).

I think the real reason is that there will be someone to look after you when you're old and sick.


The reasoning is much simpler than that... the house wants its rake, that's it

> The idea behind taxes is that you use some public resource and you pay for that service.

This is not the idea behind taxes at all. There are plenty of services I don't use, but still believe should be funded by the government because they ensure a healthy society or because they care for our most at risk.


> I never understood the logic behind taxing large internet businesses.

Why have 20% of Taxi revenue (or whatever it is) leave the country if basically all of the service is provided in country, and the internet taxi company takes the large cut over a sustained period through a combination of first-mover advantage an network effects? (Not that that's what's going on completely in the case of ride sharing, as Uber may still be subsidizing things at this point)

For other things it doesn't make sense, but in the case of many of these companies it is basically just citizens banding together through democratic decision making to not get taken advantage of through network effects that lock in certain services and shield them from competition.


> Why have 20% of Taxi revenue (or whatever it is) leave the country if basically all of the service is provided in country, and the internet taxi company takes the large cut over a sustained period through a combination of first-mover advantage an network effects?

Because the value proposition for a service like Uber is the technology to efficiently broker transactions between riders and drivers (and hopefully we can avoid the predictable digression that this brokerage is trivial). The aforementioned 20% pays for that technology while the other 80% pays for the cost of the ride (the driver's time, fuel, car mileage, etc).

Also, I don't think the first-mover or network effects are particularly strong in the case of Uber. I have a hard time believing that the overwhelming majority wouldn't jump ship immediately if a competitor arrived on the scene who could offer better fares for customers and/or better rates for drivers. By comparison, an upstart Facebook competitor wouldn't be able to compete even if they could "outprice" Facebook (I guess "outprice" would be "better data privacy" in this example) because Facebook's product is the network. Of course, being able to compete with Uber (i.e. offering better rates/fares) is still prohibitively hard for most upstarts, but that's different than first-mover or network effects.


> The idea behind taxes is that you use some public resource and you pay for that service.

IMO this is a fundamental misapprehension. The idea behind taxes isn't to compensate the state for resources consumed. The idea is that the state can tax you, so it does, to use that money for whatever its priorities are.

This is kind of a "purpose of a system is what it does" viewpoint on taxation, but I think it's also the most accurate. If you look at it from any other perspective, you're going to see weird inconsistencies like rich people paying more than they consume, deductions that don't match corresponding benefits provided to the public, etc.


>The idea behind taxes is that you use some public resource and you pay for that service

That's not the main way taxes work. Typically the government raises taxes from the well off to subsidise things like roads schools healthcare and welfare. So say a well paid developer may have to pay tax and it gets used to house a homeless person or bomb Syria. The fact that the developer is not homeless or wanting to bomb places is not a showstopper.

Paying for services you use is more just paying for stuff.


Pretending you're based in Switzerland or some other tax haven to avoid local sales tax gives you a massive advantage over national companies.

I'm not really sure it is the role of countries to enrich American shareholders at the expense of their own populace.

Nah, that’s overthinking it, I think. States are also like participants in a market. In exchange for access to French citizens, France charges some people some amount. It’s really no different from what Facebook charges you for running an ad on their platform. It’s decoupled from cost because it’s not about cost.

If Amazon is so efficient it will still be competitive against local retailers when the local retailers and Amazon have to pay the same sales tax. Which actually is not Amazon or Local retailers paying but the customers they just have to collect it.

How much do most uneducated people in most of the world make?

How much do most uneducated people in mostly uneducated markets make?

How much disposable income do they have?

How much are they worth to advertisers and sellers such as Amazon?

Pretty much nothing.

And that's just for the schools part.


> But again arbitrarily punishing or helping some corporations opens up the possibility of corruption and corporate meddling as corporations look for favors.

Like it or not, but this is designed into politics.

Its just as dirty and evil as it sounds.


Maybe France subsidizes it's telecommunications industry with monetary or anti-competitive advantages and so in return it wields greater control over the taxation of its products?

The thing the taxation is paying for is the French marketplace.

That place which is defended by the army, and wouldn't exist without schools, hospitals, and other services.


I think it comes down to economic warfare. The us abuses it with its allies and thats just retaliation.

Herés a video in french explaining it better than i can: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dejeVuL9-7c

Maybe YT knows how to translate live ? (Nlp + gtranslate ?)

My point is: in order to understand this chess move (and judge for yourself whether its a smart one or not), you have to understand the previous moves on the board (from « allies » and « ennemies », or just « economic partners » as de gaulle would say).


> So, they're imposing a tax on companies that serve French customers via the internet but aren't based in France

The Alstom case (and, to a larger extent, the US justice system jurisdictional overreach) was really something ugly, I don't really believe it's even remotely comparable to this situation.


That's not how taxes work. Government is not a corporation that you pay for using it's resources/services.

Amazon delivers stuff to my house. It uses all the local government run resources, like roads, to carry out that business.

Amazon does not deliver packages. A local delivery company in France does. They pay local taxes (corp, gas, etc) which are passed on to Amazon when Amazon pays for shipping.

They want silicon valley out of Europe. The European Union have wanted this for a long time.
08-15 5 days ago [flagged]

You misunderstand. The purpose of taxation is to take away the ill-gotten gains of the rich and redistribute them to the oppressed poor. Because, you see, all humans are equal, so if one is richer than another, he must have become rich by exploiting someone else.

Well, that's taxation in Marxism. And to an increasing extent, in the European Union. And no, I'm not making this up; the socialists (whether they call themselves The Left, Green or Social Democrats) explicitly state it in those terms.


Please don't take HN threads on generic ideological tangents. It's against the site guidelines because it makes all discussions the same and nasty.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: