Business Groups Fire Back Against Proposed Tax on Tech Firms

Following the United Kingdom’s plan to impose a new tax on sales by many technology companies, U.S. business groups, including USCIB, fired back warning that the proposal would violate tax agreements by targeting U.S. firms. The proposal includes a 2% tax on sales by large social media platforms, internet marketplaces and search engines from April 2020.

BBC reported on this development and highlighted comments by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who according to BBC, voiced strong concern about different countries’ efforts to develop digital sales tax. “This tax is a proportionate and targeted interim response that reflects the changing global economy, and how digital businesses derive value from users – it’s not targeted at any country and seeks to ensure the tax system is fair,” said Mnuchin.

USCIB submitted a letter to EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici in July in response to a proposed EU directive urging the directive not to be adopted.

“The directives reflect a lack of understanding of current and evolving business models and would distort the allocation of revenue or income to functions that do not accurately reflect value creation by the companies earning the revenue or income,” stated USCIB’s letter.

“USCIB supports a consensus-based comprehensive income-tax-based solution applied equally to agreed upon issues in segments of the digitalized economy,” added USCIB Vice President for Tax Policy Carol Doran Klein. “There is agreement that the global economy, businesses and the public sector are digitalizing. Therefore, any solution to agreed upon issues (if any) must apply to the economy broadly, not to narrow segments of the economy. Any solution must also be broadly agreed to by countries to minimize double taxation and controversy, therefore the G20-OECD Inclusive framework is the best forum for this discussion. The EU itself recognizes the importance of a multilateral approach.”

 

Staff Contact:   Carol Doran Klein

VP and International Tax Counsel
Tel: 202.682.7376

Carol Doran Klein manages USCIB’s Taxation Committee and represents member views on key tax policies and initiatives to the U.S. government and to various international forums. She also serves as vice chair on the executive bureau of the BIAC Tax Committee, where she represents the views of U.S. business. As vice chair she participates in meetings with senior OECD secretariat officials and members of the OECD’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs.
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