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The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has published a new tax framework for the digitalised economy.

As the world business organization, ICC has proposed a framework of internationally established tax principles for consideration by policymakers and legislators around the world. By establishing a consistent global tax system, both business and governments can benefit from increased clarity and predictability, which will help foster cross-border trade and investment.

Digital tax proposals gain momentum

Over the past decade, the global economy has continued to digitise, with communications, trade transactions, and data sharing, taking place between individuals every second of the day. This improved connectivity has revolutionised the way that business operates and has created new opportunities for global growth and prosperity.

In response, legislators have introduced various proposals aimed at establishing an effective tax system for business operating within the digitalised economy. ICC believes that the creation of consistent international tax rules for the digitalised economy will help strengthen these aims for national governments and provide a coherent international regulatory framework for world business and in so doing, encourage business activities, job creation and economic growth.

International tax standards for the digitalised economy

As discussions between policymakers continue to evolve, ICC has provided a framework of internationally recognised tax principles to help define the contours of a suitable tax framework for the digitalised economy that can accommodate continued rapid evolution in digitalised business models and promote cross-border trade and investment. This framework can serve as a gauge for policymakers, legislators, and business to measure the effectiveness of taxation proposals for the digitalised economy.

Profit-based taxation

ICC recommends that tax proposals for the digitalised economy should be profit-based, rather than revenue-based and that profits should be allocated where a company’s activities create value.

Neutrality

The same principles of taxation should apply to all forms of business, whether digital or more conventional, to ensure neutral and equitable treatment. Taxation should operate neutrally and equitably between different forms of business activities.

No double taxation

Tax rules and systems should seek to avoid double taxation and unintentional non-taxation.

Efficiency and enforceability

Tax administrations should minimise compliance costs, such as enforcement and collection costs, as much as possible. This will strengthen the efficiency and integrity of the tax system, while at the same time, improve enforceability.

Simplicity leads to predictability

Similarly, ICC advocates for the creation of clear and simple tax rules, so that taxpayers know exactly what is being taxed, how much tax has to be paid, and when it has to be paid. The creation of simple tax rules will improve predictability for business.

Flexibility

As a result of technology and the immediacy of information, the digitalised economy is always changing. Taxation systems should be flexible and dynamic to keep pace with technological and commercial developments.

Information security

Tax administrations should be mindful of the risks associated with increased interconnectivity. Tax procedures must protect information related to business to mitigate potential privacy risks.

Non-discrimination

Taxpayers should be treated equally, without bias or preference. Companies should not be subject to direct or indirect discrimination, based upon their participation in the digitalised economy.

Moving the dialogue forward

ICC remains committed to providing knowledge and expertise on behalf of business with a view towards determining a long-term global solution to address taxation of the digitalised economy.  Most recently, ICC welcomed the opportunity to provide input on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s public consultation document on addressing the tax challenges of the digitalisation of the economy.

ICC will continue to actively participate in constructive dialogues concerning the taxation of the digitalised economy.

Read the entire ICC taxation policy for the digitalised economy.

To access the recommendations issued by ICC, as well as other reports, please visit  Find a Document.

For more information, please contact:

  • Raelene Martin
  • (+33) 1 49 53 29 69
  • Knowledge Manager, ICC Knowledge Solutions
  • Timothy Conley
  • (+33) 1 49 53 28 49
  • Global Communications Officer
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