Austria Has Found A Way To Tax Google Searches And Social Media Posts

Tyler Durden's picture


Highlighting the difficulty both public and private establishments can have when it comes to adapting methods in the digital age, it was reported Monday that one government is now trying to tax search giant Google and social media companies.

From a report by Bloomberg:

“Austria is seeking ways to make digital services like Alphabet Inc.’s Google or Facebook Inc. pay taxes for transactions with the nation’s internet users, trying to plug gaps in a tax system still designed for brick-and-mortar business.

Continuing, Bloomberg explains something most people don’t stop to consider: how social media actually functions, and at no monetary cost to users:

“The most ambitious part of the plan targets the business models of Twitter Inc., Google or Facebook: The tacit pact under which searching, liking, posting and tweeting remains free as long as users let the companies feed usage data into algorithms that help tailor advertising that can be aimed at the most likely buyers.”

Since this arrangement is a form of bartering, the Austrian government argues, a value-added tax can be applied, just as in other sectors of the economy.

“The business transaction that’s going on here is that users are paying with their personal data,” the parliamentary head of the governing coalition, Andreas Schieder, told journalists in Vienna. “The business model of those internet companies is based on massive revenues that are generated with the help of those data.”

As Martin Armstrong rages, Andreas Schieder is a highly dangerous man. He only looks at what government can extract from people, never how government can reduce its size and cost to save money. It’s always just raise more and more taxes without end.

The government’s plan would include extending the general advertising tax to cover digital services, and it would also place a tax on purely digital services Austrians purchase from businesses with no physical location.

“We need a new approach to make sure that taxes are paid where revenue and profit is made,” Schieder said, adding that the government’s plan is comprised of “practical suggestions (on) how to define digital establishments for tax purposes.”

The proposals, according to Bloomberg, now need the approval of a single man, Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling.

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logicalman's picture

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he’s fed.
Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.
Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for
peanuts anyway!
Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.
Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.
Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.
Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,

If he cries
Tax his tears.
Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
Taxes to pass
Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won’t be done
Till he has no dough.
When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He’s good and sore.
Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he’s laid…
Put these words
Upon his tomb,
‘Taxes drove me
to my doom…’
When he’s gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax

Yukon Cornholius's picture

Seems to me like Austria needs to be Anschlussed again.

Stackers's picture

If it moves  - Tax it

If it keeps moving - regulate it

If it stops moving - subsidize it

wren's picture

A tax on knowledge...

fx's picture

What's so bad about taxing goog, amzn, fb and the likes? They milk their customers, they make a ton of money in many countries but pay taxes only to uncle sam, and rather miniscule amounts at that.
The crucial issue is: what are the taxes used for? In Austria, most of them are actually put to good use. just go over there and watch. lovely place, rich country, rather good education standards (albeit declining like everywhere - sad), great public transportation system, good healthcare system and while the gap between the rich and the poor is widening there, too, it is much smaller than anywhere in the US or the UK.

Automatic Choke's picture

This is a good thing.

They should tax websites for every ad they put in front of our eyes.   That would kill off half the annoyances of the web, since it would render unprofitable a great part of the ad deluge.   The other half of the fix is to charge senders to send email....not much, perhaps a tenth of a cent per email.   That would shut down spam instantly.


Manthong's picture

Every poor person should be made to wear a moisture detection undergarment connected to the interweb which charges him/her for all discharges.

This way the poor will finally pay their fair share.

Government has all the solutions.

fleur de lis's picture

The Austrian people are being punished for their attempted mutiny on the EU/NWO slave ship.

How dare they try to escape the velvet fetters of the EU/NWO.

How dare they even suppose such a thing.

They almost made it to freedom, too.

But the EU/NWO slave masters were smarter this time, having learned their lessons after Brexit and Trump.

So the EU/NWO slave masters subverted the entire election process to their liking.

In full view of the whole planet.

The only hope that the captives have now is to honor and practice the culture that was handed down to them by their ancestors over 2,000 years.

Did the Romans ever think that the magnificent culture they forged and built amid the European wilds would be replaced with white trash parasites and unassimilable destructors, and that their progeny would meekly comply.

They should only pay the most rudimentary heed to their "leaders" so as to keep them off their backs.

But at the same time they must privately and zealously guard cultural identity, far away from the prying eyes of .gov snitches and multi-culti screwballs.





logicalman's picture

I think you mean attacks on knowledge.

PiratePiggy's picture

What if it bends over, Stackers?  ;)



NotApplicable's picture

This is not the porn VAT I was thinking of...

PiratePiggy's picture

Logicalman, Don't you need a license to do most of the things you list?  ;)

EmergentMind's picture

Tax is theft no matter how cleverly one justifies it.

tmosley's picture

What a fucking retard. Just tax Google on their ad revenue.

Uh-oh, do those transactions take place outside your country? Aww, so sad--fuck off.

Spaced Out's picture

Lol, you fell for that propaganda piece hook, line and sinker.

"leave those poor corporations alone, nasty government".

ToSoft4Truth's picture

Here's a beaut'


Mitt Romney- Corporations Are People!

shamus001's picture

If Austria needs more money, stop spending what you got.  If a user doesn't like Facebook or Twitter, dont use them (I dont, and never have)

fx's picture

I strongly suggest to you to visit Austria. it's worth a visit anyway. Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a truly wonderful, great place to live. The landscapes are stunning in Austria, too. A still peaceful, calm, clean place, much like switzerland, but less expensive and way less arrogant.

Apart from that, these guys have long ago stopped paying fortunes for warplanes and tanks and the like. They did buy a couple of the useless eurofighters, though. But the good thing is, that deal exposed to everyone the silliness of wasting money on weapons. And unlike Germany, Austria is getting really tough now on illegal immigration  and on Turkey. Too little, too late, probably, but still. And as I wrote elsewhere, they still spend most of their tax revenue in a good, balanced way for the good of the entire population. They are are a class or two above rotten America in this regard, that much I can tell you.

2_legs_bahhhhhd's picture

alphabet agencies don't pay tax, they use other forms of currency.

Mike2756's picture

Tax the clicks.

NotApplicable's picture

And a million spam-bots cried out in horror!

Mike2756's picture

one way to get rid of them.

Falconsixone's picture

Fuck Austria!

They should be the 350th through 360th states.

fx's picture

Sorry, not gonna happen. I am not an Austrian, but let me tell you this: these people would rather die than being in a union with CA and NY (and TX, for that matter). They know what it feels like to be in a (european) union with eastern european countries and portfugal, france, italy, spain, greece. So they may not exactly feel thrilled by the thought of joining the rotten evil empire across the atlantic ocean.

markitect's picture

Im not usually a supporter of taxes BUT there is logic here, it is a form of bartering.  Maybe if these "tech" untouchables got to pay some taxes and pull their fair share the burden may be lightened a bit on us old school brick and mortar donkeys.  But I doubt it.

NotApplicable's picture

All taxes have logic behind them. Still, that means nothing more than "I want a cut of your loot!"

Dabooda's picture

Hm, calling it "loot" implies that it's obtained dishonestly.  Looting is what kleptocratic government does to honest, productive people not the other way around.

hongdo's picture

Nice little business you have there.  Too bad if something happened to it.

RedDwarf's picture

If you support this, then you support fundamentally all forms of taxation because you support the fundamental concept of taking an arbitrary cut of ALL transactions of ANY kind.  Not only do you support the so-called logic of taxation, but you support the most expansive concept of it.  Every single interaction between people is a form of 'barter'.

"Maybe if these "tech" untouchables got to pay some taxes and pull their fair share the burden may be lightened a bit on us old school brick and mortar donkeys.  But I doubt it."

Ah, now we get to the truth of the matter.  Envy and hatred.  Your ox is being gored when your neighbor's is not, so rather than push for all of you to be free, you want him to suffer just as you are.  That is your concept of 'fairness'.

U4 eee aaa's picture

They are assuming we get some value when we search. That is seldom the case

Automatic Choke's picture

not so fast there, U4.   YOU may not get value out of your search for dwarf porn, but when google archives your search and sells that info, somebody will direct advertisements for dwarf porn t-shirts, dwarf porn coffee mugs, and stepstools towards you, which you might even act on.  in any case, the info has value to the marketeers, for which they have paid - that is the reasoning behind the idea of taxing it.


Aubiekong's picture

According to Liberalism any monies you earn from working is not yours to be selfish with and benefit from your own labor but belongs to the state to redistribute to others who chose not to work as it is not fair they go without...

Sirius Wonderblast's picture

Nooo, it belongs to the liberals that they might better feather their own nests.

Mike2756's picture

use the money to give out free phones, gets more tax $.

FringeImaginigs's picture

Well you might not like his ideas for taxing Google's activities in Austria based on the idea that Business is the solution and Government the problem. Or as an alternative you can chant Google is Good, Google is Good, Google is Good and let them just go on about thier business. 

bowie28's picture

Companies that have reached the level of Google ARE gov for all intents and purposes.  They have the money, resources and influence to get laws passed that protect their monopolies from competitors.  They have an army of lawyers and accountants to structure their entities and books to game the tax code.  Also billions in taxpayer-funded revenue for "services" provided to gov, on and off the books (like selling all your data to NSA/CIA).

This story is just some squabbling between rival gangs for a bigger cut of the extortion racket they run together.


Bastiat's picture

Taxes metastasize until they break the system.

Ghordius's picture


can't wait for more "Big Biz has to be protected from everything, including taxes" comments here

seriously, dear American Cousins, you really seem to come in two kinds, generally speaking:

those who always defend Big Biz, regardless, and moan endlessly about Big State and

those who always defend Big State, regardless, and moan endlessly about Big Biz

that by this kind of extreme political positions you all contribute to the ongoing servification of the US citizens... nah, it won't dawn on you

this sickness, I call hyper-partisanship, coupled with an infatuation for Moar and Big Is Beautiful

Yukon Cornholius's picture

I think many here see that both are one and the same. There is no divide. The system is (((fascism))) and we are goy.

GoinFawr's picture

It's not a 'sickness' Ghordius, more of a heavily conditioned 'thickness' designed to keep the masses fighting amongst themselves and unable to perceive their real enemies.

wow thats crazy's picture

Fuck the multinationals tax them tax them and more tax them!

Their part or the corrupt problem that is the US government!

GunnerySgtHartman's picture

Some of us don't defend 'Big Biz' or 'Big State' ... we are about freedom, and both 'Big Biz' and 'Big State' are anathema to that!

GatorMcClusky's picture

No, I was not about to call you an asshole.

Twee Surgeon's picture

Yeah ! You have fit 330 million people into two snug boxes. Genius ! The Austrians will need the extra revenue for the EU's groundbreaking

'Tents for Tomorrows Terrorists' Program.


Sirius Wonderblast's picture

Maybe sometimes its difficult to work out which one to abhor slightly less than the other.

Gilnut's picture

Ghord Big Biz (or any business, for that matter) doesn't pay taxes...........their customers do.  ALL TAXES ARE PASSED ON TO THE PEOPLE IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

Vageling's picture

They should tax you! Yes, you! If everything can be taxed, so should your horseshit! 

Going the direction you want eh, Ghordie! Tax that man! He speaks ill of my beloved EU!

Tax that guy! How dare he looks into EU stuff. 

While the crooks live a taxfree life. 

MrSteve's picture

I thought youse EUsers spelt 'more' like MOOR?