ABC 7 News: Mountain View’s controversial head tax, meant to alleviate Google’s impact on traffic and social services, now in effect. “Mountain View’s controversial employee head tax went into effect on New Year’s Day. The tax, which charges businesses based on the number of employees they have working in the city, was designed to alleviate Google’s big impact on the city’s traffic and social services.”
ProPublica: IRS Reforms Free File Program, Drops Agreement Not to Compete With TurboTax. “The IRS announced significant changes Monday to its deal with the tax prep software industry. Now companies are barred from hiding their free products from search engines such as Google, and a years-old prohibition on the IRS creating its own online filing system has been scrapped.”
Reuters: French court clears social media tracking plan in tax crackdown. “France’s government can pursue plans to trawl social media to detect tax avoidance, its Constitutional Court ruled on Friday, although it introduced limitations on what information can be collected following a privacy outcry.” French government officials have already used Google Maps to catch swimming pool tax cheaters. Why is anybody surprised?
ProPublica: TurboTax Tricked Customers Into Paying to File Taxes. Now Several States Are Investigating It. . “Multiple state attorneys general, including Josh Stein of North Carolina, have opened investigations of TurboTax maker Intuit, following ProPublica’s reporting that the company charged millions of Americans for tax filing services they were eligible to receive for free, according to people with knowledge of the investigations.”
Reuters: Google settles ‘longstanding’ tax dispute with Australia. “Alphabet Inc’s Google has settled a ‘longstanding’ tax dispute with Australia’s tax office, it said on Wednesday, after paying an extra A$481.5 million ($326.75 million) on top of its previous tax bill.”
CNN: Boris Johnson sticks with UK digital tax plan despite the risk of US tariffs. “President Donald Trump spent part of Tuesday blasting France for its digital tax plan, because he said America should be the one to ‘take advantage’ of American companies. Despite the risk of a similar backlash, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is vowing to move ahead with his own digital tech tax.”
Middle East Monitor: Egypt plans social media tax . “Egypt plans to impose a tax system on online advertising and social media websites, the New Arab reported the deputy finance minister saying. Riyad Abdel Sattar said that Facebook and Twitter users should pay a monthly registration fee which will enable the state to monitor online activity.”