Do Digital Services Taxes Unfairly Target US Internet Companies?
There has been a global consensus for nearly a century that countries should tax multinational companies in the jurisdictions where they create value, not where they generate sales. But that consensus has begun to fall apart as digitalization has made it easier to serve regional markets remotely and Internet companies have successfully capitalized on the opportunity. A growing number of countries, from the United Kingdom and France to Chile and Australia, are now looking to impose “digital services taxes” (DSTs) on a select few of these Internet companies—mostly American—on the dubious theory that users are creating a significant share of their value, so their profits should be taxed where their users reside. Does this push for DSTs represent a legitimate reaction to a business model that merits special treatment, or is it just an attempt to grab revenue from high-profile U.S. Internet companies in potential violation of longstanding tax or trade agreements?
Moderator: Joe Kennedy, Senior Fellow, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation