Taxing decisions: domain names in France


Aurélia Marie

According to French Tax Authorities, the right to use a .fr domain name assigned by the French Regulation Authority is an intangible asset.

In a decision dated February 9, 2012, the Tribunal Administratif de Montreuil (administrative court of Montreuil) ruled for the first time on the fiscal nature of domain names, in a case involving auction site eBay.

The company eBay France is the holder of the domain name assigned by the French Regulation Authority (AFNIC) registry. This domain name is made available to the parent company eBay International AG, without eBay France receiving royalties in return. eBay International AG only reimbursed the fees paid for registering the domain name.

During an inspection by the French Tax Authorities, the domain name was reinstated in the balance sheet of the French company as part of its intangible assets and the court confirms this interpretation.