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Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digital Economy

image of Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digital Economy

The spread of the digital economy poses challenges for international taxation. This report sets out an analysis of these tax challenges. It notes that because the digital economy is increasingly becoming the economy itself, it would not be feasible to ring-fence the digital economy from the rest of the economy for tax purposes. The report notes, however, that certain business models and key features of the digital economy may exacerbate BEPS risks. These BEPS risks will be addressed by the work on the other Actions in the BEPS Action Plan, which will take the relevant features of the digital economy into account. The report also analyses a number of broader tax challenges raised by the digital economy, and discusses potential options to address them, noting the need for further work during 2015 to evaluate these broader challenges and potential options.

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Executive summary

Action 1 of the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) Action Plan deals with the tax challenges of the Digital Economy. Political leaders, media outlets, and civil society around the world have expressed growing concern about tax planning by multinational enterprises that makes use of gaps in the interaction of different tax systems to artificially reduce taxable income or shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions in which little or no economic activity is performed. In response to this concern, and at the request of the G20, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published an Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS Action Plan, OECD, 2013) in July 2013.

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