A draft proposal issued by the parliament’s research center published on Wednesday said that the tax could amount to nearly $50 million given that companies and businesses in Iran spend around double that figure on advertising through Google services each year, Presstv Reported.
The US-based Google is not represented in Iran and authorities have rejected requests by the company to set up an office in the country.
However, the parliament proposal said that Google dominates the search engine services across the Iranian internet space and the government should consider imposing a tax on businesses using advertisement on the online platform.
It said other countries like Turkey, Spain and Britain had similar regulations for taxing companies that benefit from the online activity of internet users inside their borders.
The proposal said that Iran’s telecoms ministry (ICT) should be responsible for identifying the businesses and their advertisement practices through Google search engine.
However, both the ICT and online businesses rejected the proposal as unfair and said that it would hurt the startups and newcomers to the market.
Amir Nazemi, a deputy telecoms minister, said his department had not been consulted over the new tax while insisting that it was against government efforts to help a fledgling online business in Iran.
Others said it was better for the government to allow major companies like Google to be legally represented in Iran so that they could be properly taxed.
The proposal is part of efforts by lawmakers in the parliament to amend a draft budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year starting March 21. The bill, rejected by the parliament earlier this week, is currently being debated in the assembly’s appropriations committee.