The European Commission (EC) may seek to implement tax reform to raise more revenue from online giants without the backing of the United States and other nations.
The world's rich nations have not yest managed to reach a deal on how to tax online firms like Google fairly. These companies on average pay bills in Europe that are less than half of those of other firms.
To prevent some smaller EU economies such as Ireland or Luxembourg, which host many foreign online businesses, from blocking the move, the commission is also raising the prospect of using little-known EU rules that would prevent states from vetoing decisions on tax matters.
The commission on Thursday outlined three options for taxes aimed at internet companies that could be agreed upon relatively quickly at the EU level or by a smaller group of EU nations.
One was for a tax on the turnover rather than the profits of digital firms, another would put a levy on online ads, and a third would impose a withholding tax on payments to internet firms.
In the longer term the EU wants to change existing taxation rights to make sure digital firms with large operations but no physical presence in a given country pay taxes there instead of being allowed to reroute their profits to low-tax jurisdictions.