Expert Group: policy should facilitate digital startups in Europe

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The European Commission has released its summary record on the third meeting of the Expert Group on the Taxation of the Digital Economy on 13-14 March. The members of the Expert Group were appointed in November 2013 with the mandate to examine the best ways of taxing the digital economy in the EU.

Ecommerce Europe applauds the initiative of the European Commission as taxing the digital economy has been a challenge for the online retail industry – this explained further in Ecommerce Europe’s Priority Paper. Tax systems in various countries can differ up to 10 percentage points – 15% in Luxembourg and 25% in Sweden. Another example of a problem that arises is how to tax digital content bought online. Ecommerce Europe would like to compliment the European Commission for conducting thorough research but also stresses the need that a cautious and balanced solution for posed problems has to be found rather on the short term than on the long.

A brief insight in what has been discussed teaches us that the discussion entertained the issue of differences between the EU and the US in digital startups. The conclusion drawn by the expert group is that policy should therefore focus on facilitating rapid growth of this sector – a recommendation that Ecommerce Europe fully endorses. Another important step is that the expert group came to the conclusion that taking European wide action on taxation of the digital economy should be done with consideration of global tax standards. Since e-commerce has a huge cross-border potential, national isolation or European isolation can seriously hamper the competitiveness of the European e-commerce sector.

The next meeting of the expert group has taken place on 24-25 April. Ecommerce Europe will monitor the outcomes of this meeting and inform you as soon as information is available.

The full summary report is found here.

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