Taxing the internet : Smart? Crazy? French.

Time for a petite revue de presse.

It's no secret that when the world thinks of France, they think of taxes. So it should come as no surprise that François Hollande has proposed a way to tax websites that are conducting their virtual business in French cyberspace. An article on with the title "WARNING: Reading This Post About The French View Of The Internet Will Make You Want To Pull Your Hair Out."

Strong words! Another article, this time on, is titled, "France wants to tax data mining, and it's not a bad idea."

Two very different reactions to this nouvelle. Other articles just call Hollande's new idea as "taxing the internet." A tiny generalization, but we can go with it. With a stagnant GDP and the current conflict in Mali, the French are growing desperate for revenue. Tax evasions from multinationals in France has become a focus for the French government, and so there is no wonder why Hollande has pinpointed companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon as tax evaders. These companies make billions off of the data of the French by mining customer data and selling to advertisers, without paying any taxes to France. This is because it's not the French division of these companies reporting the gains. It is not Google France mining this information from the French, it is Google. The Quartz article states the French frustration at these American companies that dominate the French digital economy from beyond the reach of the government.

The Business Insider article seems to think that Francois Hollande has plans to tax the USERS of these websites, citing The New York Times with the information that information per user will be calculated and then verified by outside auditors. The other articles make it clear that they report the COMPANIES will be the ones taxed.

Yet another article from calls this possible tax "creativity" on the part of France for trying to find revenue anywhere they can.

So many different opinions on one report that was released. So many differing stakes in this big pie, and so tempers and reactions run high when internet giants get put under a fiscal and ethical microscope.

Regardless, the Internet is a relatively new concept with tech companies becoming incredibly savvy at, shall we say, navigating the waters of international taxes, copyrights, intellectual property laws, etc. And so it comes as no surprise that country leaders, especially François Hollande of France, are trying to keep the economic and monetary peace in their countries.