Volume 47 (2019) / Issue 2
Equalization taxes have a number of potential disadvantages and shortcomings, including their negative impact on growth, innovation and productivity, non-neutrality, double taxation, and problems in compliance and administration. However, some also view them as a politically feasible way to address perceived ‘unfairness’ in the territorial allocation of taxing rights in a digitalized economy. In any event, however, there are also certain technical features any such tax should comply with, including, e.g. compliance with international obligations (e.g. EU and tax treaty law), administrative simplicity, and a scope that is not overreaching. This contribution will address the general background of ‘equalization taxes’, the fundamental objections raised against it, and the relevant design features, both on a general level and specifically with regard to the proposal for an EU ‘Digital Services Tax’.
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