Expert group on digital economy tax

Mon Apr 28, 2014

IN late April 2014 the EU’s expert group on the taxation of the digital economy held their fourth-ever meeting in Brussels. The EU had already taken the first steps towards taxing the digital economy with the 2015 VAT Directive, now the expert group was exploring other sources of digital economy tax.

Digital economy tax

Internet traffic is doubling every two to three years and mobile internet traffic every year.

The group’s get-togethers ran parallel with the OECD’s own probe into the tax challenges of the digital economy. Indeed, the OECD’s public consultations regarding the tax challenges of the digital economy ended in May 2014, and they released a report in September 2014.

The EU expert group compiled its final report in June and submitted it to the then Taxation Commissioner Algirdas Semeta as per the group’s roadmap.

After every meeting the expert group’s work was published on the EU Commission’s taxation and customs website. Included among the expert group’s work were some interesting statistics provided by the expert group in recent meeting summaries (here):

  • Half of all productivity growth derives from investment in information and communication technology (ICT).

  • Internet traffic is doubling every two to three years and mobile internet traffic every year.

  • By 2015 there will be 25 billion wirelessly connected devices globally; doubling to 50 billion in 2020.

  • Mobile data traffic is expected to increase 12-fold between 2012 and 2018.

  • Data traffic on smartphones is expected to increase 14 times by 2018.

  • There are more than four million ICT workers across many sectors in Europe and their number is growing by three per cent annually despite the crisis.

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