OECD to Seek Public Input on Digital Economy Taxation

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By Alex Parker

The OECD will hold a public consultation on taxes in the digital economy in November, according to the organization’s tax chief.

Pascal Saint-Amans, director for tax policy and administration with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said its Task Force on the Digital Economy will likely produce a draft before the consultation, which is planned in San Francisco.

Saint-Amans announced Aug. 28 that the OECD will likely look at new options on how to tax digital goods and services, as part of a mandate from the Group of 20 nations to produce an April 2018 report.

Saint-Amans reiterated that reaching an agreement on these sticky issues will likely be difficult.

“What will this paper look like? I wish I knew. Because it will have to reflect the views of 102 members. And there is something like a divide between the members,” he said in announcing the consultation. “I think there will be proposals by the European countries, but not only Europe—we have Indonesia, we have Malaysia, we have a number of other countries that are thinking of taking actions.”

Many of these issues were addressed in the OECD’s base erosion and profit shifting project. The final reports were released in 2015. But Saint-Amans conceded that the report on the digital economy hasn’t produced widespread agreement between OECD members on issues such as how to tax a branch involved in online business in a country.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Parker in Rio de Janeiro at aparker@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kevin A. Bell at kbell@bna.com

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