Digital giants like Facebook and Google are soon going to have to start paying taxes to the countries where they are making money.136 countries, including Canada, have just signed an agreement on international tax reform.
Pillar One of the OECD agreement will ensure that the largest and most profitable global corporations, including large digital corporations, pay a fair share of tax in the jurisdictions where their users and customers are located.
Pillar Two of the OECD agreement will ensure that multinational enterprises are subject to a minimum level of tax of at least 15 per cent, no matter where their profits are earned. This will help to end the race to the bottom in corporate taxation.
Commented Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, “Canada strongly supports international efforts to end the corporate race to the bottom and to ensure that all corporations, including the world’s largest corporations, pay their fair share. Today’s agreement will ensure a level playing field for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses in the global economy.”
The taxation measures are the latest move in what appears to be growing move to exercise more control over the digital giants. Frances Haugen, a former Facebook data scientist testifying before U.S. Senators called for stricter government oversight in order to alleviate the dangers the company poses, which she said runs from harming children to inciting political violence and fuelling misinformation.
She supported her testimony with stacks of emails and other documents that she took with her when she walked out of Facebook. Haugen blamed the problems on CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who she says, knew that Facebook and Instagram were causing harm, especially to teenage girls concerned about body image, but took profit over safety. Facebook has been criticized for being slow to take action against misinformation that became rampant during the Trump White House and in the aftermath of the 2020 election.