Parisian magazine Marianne has issued a message to U.S. companies that have shown their love of France since the November 13th attacks: thanks, but if you really loved us, you’d pay your taxes.
The French tricolor is slowly disappearing from profiles pictures across Facebook as the temporary drapeaux expire, and the notifications from friends in Paris marking themselves safe are long gone from everyone’s timelines. The blue, white, and red pomme has vanished from Apple’s homepage, and Starbucks is no longer posting pictures of the French flag on Twitter. They were with France in a moment of crisis, but Marianne asks where their patriotism is when it comes to paying taxes in France.
Louis Hausalter writes that U.S. multinational corporations evaded 4.2 billion euros in taxes in 2012, with companies like Starbucks successfully not paying a single euro in taxes to the French government since coming to the country in 2004. Facebook, meanwhile, paid out just shy of €320,000 to the country in 2014, part of an effective tax break of 99% thanks to the well-known tax-shelter shuffle between locations like the Cayman Islands and Ireland. Hausalter argues that paying taxes in France—and it should be noted that many of these same companies legally dodge U.S. taxes as well—is a true show of patriotism, of contributing to the common good and supporting government anti-terrorism efforts. It is clear, he says, which of the two options the companies prefer: the cheaper one.
Claire Fournier breaks it down on iTELE (en française):