THE ECONOMIST- 1 trong 3 tạp chí thường được chọn để ra bài Reading trong IELTS.


  1. Sovereign (a): having the highest power or being completely independent (quyền lực tối cao, có chủ quyền)
A sovereign state: nước có chủ quyền
Sovereignty (n): the power of a country to control its own government (chủ quyền)
  1. Corporate (a): of or shared by a whole group and not just of a single member (thuộc đoàn thể, chung)
  2. Profit (n): money that is earned in trade or business after paying the costs of producing and selling goods and services (lợi nhuận)
  3. Fed up with: bored with (chán nản)
  4. Commission (n): to formally choose  someone to do a special piece of work, or to formally ask for a special piece of work from someone (sự ủy nhiệm)
Commissioner (n): người được ủy quyền
Committee (n): ủy ban
  1. Tax (n): (an amount of) money paid to the government that is based on your income or the cost of goods or services you have bought (thuế)
Non-taxation (n): miễn thuế
  1. Income (v): money that is earned from doing work (thu nhập)
  2. Levy (n): an amount of money, such as a tax, that you have to pay to a government or organization (thuế)
  3. Revenues (n): the income that a government or company receives regularly (doanh thu)
  4. Scope (n): the range of things that an activity, company, law, etc. (phạm vi)
  5. Propose (v): to offeror suggest a possible plan or action for other people to consider (đề xuất)
Proposal (n): việc đề xuất
  1. Tweak (v): to change something slightly, especially in order to make it more correct, effective, or suitable (chỉnh sửa)
  2. Compromise (v): an agreement in an argument in which the people involved reduce their demands or change their opinion in order to agree (thỏa hiệp)
  3. As soon as possible: sớm nhất có thể
  4. Obligations (n): something that you must do (bắt buộc)
  5. Multilateral (a): involving more than two groups or countries (đa phương, nhiều phía)
  6. On their own: by themselves (tự thân)
  7. Discriminate (v): o treat a person or particular group of people differently (phân biệt)

Digital taxation


Union is not united on how to extract more from tech firms

THERE IS, SAYS Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, a need for “European sovereignty in the face of digital giants, which are now as powerful as sovereign states”. The issue is tax—or rather a lack of it. The most creative corporate tax minimisers are big, mostly American, technology firms. Countries such as France and Italy harrumph that they are deprived of billions in tax receipts each year as Google, Amazon and their kind magic profits away from where business is done to where they are taxed least. The European Commission reckons digital firms pay 9.5% in income tax on average, compared with 23.2% for firms with “traditional business models”.

The OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, was meant to tackle digital non-taxation as part of a global corporate-tax reform initiative called BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting). Progress, however, has been glacially slow. Fed up with waiting, Europe vowed to act on its own. Yet the breakaway is not going to plan.

In March the commission proposed a tax on sales, which are harder to shift to tax havens than profits. The mooted 3% levy would apply to digital services and sales, including sales of users’ data, regardless of whether the firm had a physical presence in the European Union. Tech companies with global annual revenues of €750m ($850m) or more—an estimated 200 or so—were expected to fall within its scope.

The plan has since been tweaked several times. A sixth compromise text was put to EU finance ministers on December 4th. But the commission knew it was going nowhere: EU tax proposals require unanimous support, and several countries, including Ireland and Sweden, had made their continued displeasure known. France and Germany responded by jointly offering yet another compromise, targeting web firms’ advertising sales only—thus not covering the likes of Amazon and Airbnb. That might raise about half as much as the original proposal, officials reckon. Even this dilution drew raspberries from some countries. The ministers agreed to try to move forward “as soon as possible”.

The naysayers argue variously that such matters are best left to the OECD, that an EU-only approach would breach international treaty obligations, and that it could hurt European firms as well as American ones. Some also worry (but tend not to talk publicly) about repelling investors. Low-tax Ireland, currently favoured by tech firms, would be an estimated €160m a year worse off if the EU pressed ahead.

Supporters say a European tax need not undermine global reform efforts; it could even focus minds in the OECD-led talks and hasten a multilateral deal (which, thanks to a “sunset clause” in the proposed EU levy, would trigger its withdrawal). Their optimism is ebbing, however. An exasperated Pierre Moscovici, the EU’S tax commissioner, declared last month that “we are reaching the limits set by unanimity” on tax issues and that next year he will therefore propose switching to majority voting.

With member states struggling to find a common approach, some are preparing to act on their own. As many as 11 EU countries have announced or are considering nation digital-sales taxes (as are several elsewhere, including South Korea and Australia). Britain, for instance, is holding a consultation on a 2% levy on firms with over £500m ($635m) in revenues—though it says a global accord would be preferable.

What chance of such an agreement? Optimists talk of the OECD pulling together a deal by 2020. But America, protective of its tech giants, is “not much interested in making progress”, says Alex Cobham of Tax Justice Network, a campaign group. Mind you, America is even less keen on the idea of Europe’s regional tech tax. The congressional committee that oversees tax issues recently wrote to Brussels, decrying its proposed tech levy as “designed to discriminate against US companies…creating a significant new transatlantic trade barrier”.



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