Algirdas Šemeta – Digital Taxation: An EU reflection in a global context

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Seminar on digital economy  Paris, 9 October 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here in Paris to discuss what I believe is one of the most pressing issues facing us in international taxation today:  What is the best way of taxing the digital economy? And how do we get there?  Taxation challenges  The taxation systems which we rely on today were designed at a time when computers were still a futuristic idea.  When the current structures for taxation were put in place, nobody could have conceived of a global economy driven by online services and intangible assets.

Therefore, we should not be surprised that the digital sector sits like an ill-fitting jigsaw piece in our overall taxing environment.  To integrate the digital economy into our tax systems – or to adapt our taxation to the digital economy – will require more than a few tweaks.  However, this is easier said than done, and the pace at which the digital economy is growing does not allow time for protracted reflections without any interim action.

So, our work should begin by addressing what I see as the most pressing questions:

  • How can we ensure that our tax systems do not hamper the potential of this sector in the European market?
  • Why is it necessary to ensure that the growth of the digital economy does not undermine fair and efficient taxation?
  • And how to progress towards sustainable solutions. Here to read more.
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