Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digital Economy

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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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Addressing base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) is a key priority of governments around the globe. In 2013, OECD and G20 countries, working together on an equal footing, adopted a 15-point Action Plan to address BEPS. The Action Plan aims to ensure that profits are taxed where economic activities generating the profits are performed and where value is created. It was agreed that addressing BEPS is critical for countries and must be done in a timely manner, not least to prevent the existing consensusbased international tax framework from unravelling, which would increase uncertainty for businesses at a time when cross-border investments are more necessary than ever. As a result, the Action Plan provides for 15 actions to be delivered by 2015, with a number of actions to be delivered in 2014.

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