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Esiste la presenza digitale?

Björn Westberg

A causa della progressiva digitalizzazione di tutti i settori dell’economia, nel BEPS sono state evidenziate le problematiche fiscali di maggiore rilevanza relative all’attività delle società digitali: si configura una presenza digitale massiccia nel­l’economia di ogni singolo paese in assenza di assoggettamento a tassazione; l’at­tività di queste imprese genera valore legato alla creazione di dati rilevanti ai fini della localizzazione dei consumatori, reperiti tramite la fornitura di beni e servizi digitali; la conseguente necessità di assicurare un’efficacie riscossione delle imposte dovute. Inoltre, sono stati realizzati, da parte degli ordinamenti nazionali, diversi tentativi di introdurre delle speciali forme di tassazione sui valori della digital economy. Alla luce di tali esperienze, il Gruppo Europeo degli esperti della digital economy ha ipotizzato che non dovrebbe essere configurato un sistema di tassazione speciale per le imprese digitali. Tale conclusione incontestabile, e tuttavia emergono delle questioni critiche con riferimento alle politiche di lungo termine. I radicali cambiamenti proposti al sistema di tassazione delle società, ipotizzando una tassazione sui flussi finanziari o sui profitti, modificherebbe profondamente il sistema, attuale, collocando la base imponibile nei paesi di destinazione, invece che negli Stati fonte, e la soluzione non appare neutrale. Appare più proficuo il tentativo di applicare rigidamente i rimedi elaborati per contrastare il fenomeno dell’erosione della base imponibile, includendo in una soluzione impositiva sia il fenomeno del consumo che quello della produzione del reddito.

Articoli Correlati: presenza digitale - nesso digitale - erosione della base imponibile - tassazione sul consumo - tassazione sul reddito

Digital presence - Does it exist?

Since the whole economy is becoming digital, BEPS action Plan underlined the most important issues relevant to digital companies action: significant digital presence in the economy of another country without being liable to taxation; value created from the generation of marketable location-relevant data through the use of digital products and services; the need to ensure an effective tax collection. Then, there have been many and different national attempts to introduce special taxation on the Digital Economy. In the light of the experiences, the European Group of Experts has taken that there should not be a special tax regime for digital companies. While the conclusions are uncontested, the critical moment of the Report in respect of Corporate Income Taxation is related to the long term policy options. The proposed radical changes to the corporation tax system, thinking to a corporate tax on cash flows instead or on profit determined on an accrual basis would fundamentally change the current tax system and allocate the tax base to destination countries instead of source countries, but the solution could be not neutral. It would be better to concentrate the efforts on strict applications of remedies against base eroding transactions and include both income and consumption taxation in the new digital income tax solution.

Keywords: digital presence, digital nexus, base erosion, income taxation, consumption taxation

1. Background and Purpose of this Article Does the present international business taxation reflect a fair sharing of the profits or will it contribute to erosion of the tax bases? For me as a mem­ber of the EU High Level Expert Group on Taxation of the Digital Economy [3] this was a core issue. The task of the Expert Group has been «to identify improvements in the current way of taxing the digital economy in the EU, weighing up both the benefits and risks of various approaches. Its focus will be on identifying the key problems with taxing the digital economy from an EU perspective, and presenting a range of possible solutions. The Commission will then develop any necessary EU initiatives to improve the tax framework for the digital sector in Europe, which has the po­tential to contribute significantly to growth and innovation in the EU». The task relates to taxes of all kinds, although taxes related to business activities in a broad meaning as Corporate income taxes as well as Consumption taxes are most important. This article concentrates on Characteristics of the Digital Economy and Conclusions in respect of Corporate Income Taxes. General matters related to the G20 and OECD project named BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) are only briefly referred, if being of direct importance for the Digital Economy. 2. BEPS The BEPS Action Plan underlines that «[f]undamental changes are needed to effectively prevent double non-taxation, as well as cases of no or low taxation associated with practices that artificially segregate taxable income from the activities that generate it» [4]. The problems are primarily related to such «practices that artificially segregate taxable income from the activities that generate it» and not related to any segregation of business profits caused by the business or technological development as such. It is not a mere chance that Action Plan 1 of the 15 Actions within the BEPS project is devoted to the Digital Economy. It states that «BEPS is a concern in the context of the digital economy» [5]. 3. The Digital Economy 3.1. BEPS issues The BEPS Action Plan 1 addresses a number of tax challenges of the digi­tal economy [6]. My concentration lies on three issues. The first one relates to the statement that there should exist an «ability of a [continua ..]

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