October 1, 2018 / 6:10 PM / 2 months ago

International agreement on digital taxes unlikely soon: UK's Hammond

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond waves after speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - British finance minister Philip Hammond said on Monday that an international agreement to tax digital service providers was unlikely to come any time soon, blaming U.S. tax reforms brought in by U.S. President Donald Trump.

“I have to say my prognosis is that it is quite unlikely that we will be able to achieve international agreement in anything like a sensible time scale,” he said at an event on the sidelines of the Conservative Party annual conference.

“Because of Mr Trump’s tax reforms these now look like companies that will be paying U.S. tax in the future and suddenly we find our U.S. colleagues are not quite so interested in engaging in this debate.”

He said a planned British digital services tax, mooted earlier in the day as something Britain would do if no international agreement was possible, was aimed at global giants, not at growth companies.

“We’re clear that we’re not talking here about the very many, very successful growth businesses here in the UK, we’re talking about the global digital giants who derive huge value from data gathered from UK consumers and from content uploaded by UK consumers,” he said.

Reporting by William James; Editing by Elisabeth O'Leary

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