Controversial EU tax proposal on digital services causes concern for small exporting economies

NEWS Published

TAX The Director Generals for the Swedish, Danish and Finnish business federations have, in a joint letter addressed to the Finance Ministers of their respective countries, expressed their concern for the EU Commissions digital tax plan. 

On March 21 the European Commission presented its plan to tax digital activities in the EU. The package includes a Directive proposal to introduce the concept of digital permanent establishment, allowing member states to tax profits that companies make in their jurisdiction based on those companies significant digital presence. A second Directive proposal introduces a temporary 3 percent destination-based tax on revenues from certain digital activities.

By suggesting to base corporate taxation on the market where products and services are sold rather than on where production, strategic decisions and headquarters are located, the proposals by the Commission constitute a fundamental change to the international corporate tax system. In addition, the tax challenges stemming from the digitalization of the economy is a global issue requiring global solutions. At the OECD, work is underway in trying to come up with a set of rules that could achieve international consensus. The EU should await the outcome of the OECD 2020 final report. The regional ad hoc populist solution as proposed by the Commission not only favors countries with big markets at the expensive of smaller countries like the Nordic, it also increases the risk of conflicting taxation claims and double taxation.    

The Director Generals for the Swedish, Danish and Finnish business federations have, in a joint letter addressed to the Finance Ministers of their respective countries, expressed their concern for the EU Commissions digital tax plan. 

 

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