L'attaque est la meilleure défense. France proposes a smartphones tax.

However, as we all know, literally to our own cost, more often than not most of the money raised from "special" taxes to fund a particular sector or project eventually finds its way into the general national exchequer to be appropriated to pay for something entirely different. There is no guarantee that, in the long term, this scheme (like income tax) would be any different.

On the one-hand a proposed new tax on so-called "Internet-compatible devices" (and there's a handy catch-all phrase just ripe for further exploitation a bit further down the road) smacks of political expediency and opportunism in a time of austerity.

On the other hand, the levy would target the likes Amazon, Apple and Google, tax avoiders extraordinaire, who wriggle and write, posture and prevaricate about paying tax self-evidently due in the geographies where the applicable sales take place whilst doing all they can to shelter their earnings in tax havens. Many would like to see these scheming behemoths cut down to size and be made to pay their fair share.

At first sight, the French proposal might seem to fly directly in the face of the rules of the European Union but, like the UK (and other member states, France enjoys a get-out of some regulations. For France it is the "cultural exception" a exception,' a policy designed to protects the French cinema, music and other "creative sectors", against the untoward imported dominance of foreign cultural competion. In practice this generally means US films and British and Asian music and videos.

A government spokesperson said that consultations will be held with "leading figures of the cultural sector" before any final decision is made.

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