France to force big companies to disclose foreign tax bill
* Bank bill to be amended to include other big companies
* Will require them to disclose foreign activities
* Part of effort to combat tax avoidance
PARIS, June 2 (Reuters) - France plans to force large companies to declare details of their foreign activities as a way of reducing tax avoidance, a finance ministry official said on Sunday.
The move is France's follow-up to a European Union summit last month where EU leaders said they would close loopholes to stop companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon aggressively avoiding taxes.
France will extend draft rules, initially planned only for banks, to other large companies, the finance ministry official said.
"Our aim is to extend to large companies the requirement to disclose activities abroad country-by-country," the official told Reuters, adding that the measure would enter into force at a date decided at EU level.
"Just to give an example this would make sure that a company cannot declare no revenue in France while having hundreds of staff there and declare a lot of income in the Cayman islands with only one employee," the official said.
The government will later specify in a decree the threshold above which the law would apply, daily Le Monde wrote, saying that the aim was to impose it on all companies in the CAC 40 stock index as well as non-listed companies.
Socialist lawmakers will introduce the rule in an amendment to a draft banking law they will table on Tuesday, which requires banks to spell out country-by-country their staffing, revenues and taxes paid abroad.
Two other amendments to the bill will put into French law an EU cap on bankers' bonuses and oblige banks to inform French tax authorities about the income of foreign taxpayers, in order to help international cooperation against tax evasion, the finance ministry official said.
Big business is strongly opposed to country-by-country reporting which companies say would impose unreasonable administrative burdens.
But Michel Barnier, the European commissioner in charge of business regulation, said last week he wanted to force large companies throughout Europe to disclose how much tax they pay in each country where they operate. (Reporting by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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