Recent Trends in the Digital Services Tax

Author Name FUCHI Keigo (Kobe University)
Creation Date/NO. August 2021 21-J-038
Research Project Comprehensive Research on the Current International Trade/Investment System (pt.V)
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This paper analyzes legal aspects of the digital services tax recently introduced in some countries. The paper points out several defects inherent in the tax. It also considers why such a tax was proposed and introduced. It is difficult to justify the tax within the traditional framework of international taxation. The objective of the tax is also unclear. Although the tax is apparently imposed on global digital enterprises, the tax burdens might actually fall on the consumers. In summary, the tax has many flaws, and it is difficult to rationalize from the perspective of tax policy. However, the tax has at least one distinct advantage over preexisting taxes. While traditional taxes have largely failed to include consumption for which consumers are not charged, the digital services tax incorporates this kind of consumption.