Thursday, January 9, 2020
Arthur J. Cockfield (Queen's University), Tax Wars: How to End the Conflict over Taxing Global Digital Commerce, 17 Berkeley Bus. L.J. ___ (2020):
In the last two years, dozens of governments have proposed or introduced unilateral tax measures to tax foreign-based technology companies. The new tax innovations include special withholding taxes, diverted profit taxes, minimum taxes and digital services taxes. The rise of these unilateral measures threatens an international tax ‘war’ among governments that could stifle new business models or even the spread of the global digital economy. This Article reviews how international reform efforts have failed to constrain aggressive international tax planning and how the global digital tax conflict masks a growing dissatisfaction with how to tax value associated with global transactions.
A coordinated solution that creates an economic presence test (a Quantitative Economic Presence Permanent Establishment) and modifies how tax revenues are divided between countries (e.g., the Residual Profit Split by Income proposal) is the best way to address these global developments.