The digitalization of the economy has been a key focus of tax debates in recent years. Political debates have focused on the differences between taxing physical business operations and virtual operations. These debates have intersected with multiple layers of tax policy including consumption and corporate tax policies. Novel policies have also been developed including equalization levies and digital services taxes alongside more common use of gross-based withholding taxes targeted at digital services.
However, in some cases political expediency has outpaced consistent policy designs in line with sound principles of tax policy. As policymakers continue to evaluate the options to tax digital businesses it will be necessary to avoid creating new distortive tax policies driven by political agendas.
This paper reviews a multitude of digital tax policies around the world with a focus on OECD countries and points out the various flaws
and benefits associated with the wide set of proposals.
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