Digital Services Tax

Our Center for Global Tax Policy provides leading analysis of country and international proposals to tax revenues from certain digital activities of multinational corporations.

As several European countries continue to work towards implementing digital services taxes (DSTs), the uncertainty for the firms affected by these taxes will continue to rise.

The posts below review the evidence that has been gathered on the impact of digital services taxes (DSTs), including our responses to OECD Public Consultation Documents.

Two Roads Diverge in the OECD’s Impact Assessment

October 20, 2020

The difference that the OECD presents between the potential impact in the context of agreement compared to a harmful tax and trade war should show policymakers the value of continuing multilateral discussions.

Pillars, Blueprints, an Impact Assessment, and Construction Delays

October 13, 2020

The OECD released blueprints for proposals on changing international tax rules alongside an impact assessment based on the overall design of the proposals. While the blueprints cover proposals both for changing where large multinationals owe corporate tax and designing a global minimum tax, there are still many unanswered questions. In the meantime, other digital tax proposals are moving forward and have the potential to result in a harmful tax and trade war.

Where Should the Money Come From?

August 12, 2020

The fiscal response to the COVID-19 pandemic will require policymakers to consider what revenue resources should be used to fill budget gaps. Tax policy experts have proposed wealth taxes, (global) corporate minimum taxes, excess profits taxes, and digital taxes as opportunities for governments to raise new revenues.

Who will Ultimately Pay the Digital Services Tax in the UK? Amazon Passes the Cost Along to Sellers

August 4, 2020

When developing tax policy, lawmakers often ignore the incidence of a tax, or who actually pays the tax. Many times, this is different from who is legally required to pay the tax. Just because a 2 percent revenue tax applies to large digital companies does not mean that the companies will bear the entire cost of the tax.

The New EU Budget is Light on Details of Tax Proposals

July 22, 2020

The European Council recently agreed on a new multiannual budget and a recovery program, which sets EU budget levels for 2021-2027 totals €1 trillion (US $1.2 trillion). The lack of details on the various tax proposals and the eventual need for revenue sources to finance new EU debt mean there is a lot of work left for policymakers in Brussels to do.

Tax Foundation Comments on the Initiation of Section 301 Investigations of Digital Services Taxes

July 9, 2020

Digital services taxes effectively ring-fence the digital economy by limiting the tax to certain revenue streams of digital businesses, discriminating in favor of more traditional sectors of the economy.

Digital Tax Deadlock: Where Do We Go from Here?

July 1, 2020

We recently hosted an exclusive webinar discussion to get up to speed on recent digital tax developments and gain insight from leading international tax experts on the OECD's BEPS project.

A Blow to Pillar 1

June 17, 2020

The U.S. has called for a pause in global digital tax negotiations, dealing a blow to Pillar 1 of the OECD's international tax project. What happens next could be very harmful for the global economy.

Watch: Taxing the Digital Economy

June 3, 2020

What changed in the global economy that disrupted traditional means of taxation? Is it worth finding a way to include tax digital goods and services in the tax base? Why are digital services taxes so problematic? Are there better options—ways to adapt our current system without introducing complex and economically harmful policies?

The U.S. Trade Representative Expands Its Digital Services Tax Investigations

June 2, 2020

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) expanded its digital service tax investigations, announcing Section 301 investigations into digital tax policies in nine countries and the European Union. The announcement follows an investigation of the French digital services tax that was completed in 2019, after which the USTR threatened significant #tariffs in retaliation against France.

New York Lawmakers Float New Data Tax Proposal

June 2, 2020

Taxes on digital services, digital advertising, and the sale or utilization of consumer data, which were already emerging before the #coronavirus crisis, look increasingly attractive to cash-strapped states and localities.

Digital Taxation Around the World

May 27, 2020

The digitalization of the economy has been a key focus of tax debates in recent years. Our new report reviews digital tax policies around the world with a focus on OECD countries, explores the various flaws and benefits associated with the wide set of proposals, and provides recommendations for lawmakers to consider.

Digital Services Taxes: Do They Comply with International Tax, Trade, and EU Law?

May 26, 2020

A digital services tax like the one implemented by France likely violates both the General Agreement on Trade in Services and a model U.S. free trade agreement. However, it is uncertain whether meaningful relief could be obtained under either regime.

Gov. Hogan Vetoes Maryland Digital Advertising Tax Legislation

May 7, 2020

Gov. Hogan vetoed a proposed first-in-the-nation digital advertising tax that would have imposed rates of up to 10 percent on digital advertising served to Marylanders.

Chaos to the Left of Me. Chaos to the Right of me.

May 5, 2020

The OECD recently announced that the negotiation timeline for new digital tax proposals has now been pushed back to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although the end-of-year deadline for the overall project is still in place.

Tax Policy After Coronavirus: Clearing a Path to Economic Recovery

April 22, 2020

Governments at all levels must work to remove the tax policy barriers that stand in the way of economic recovery and long-term prosperity following the COVID-19 crisis. Our new guide outlines several comprehensive options that policymakers can take at the federal and state levels.

Is Now the Time for a $100 billion Tax Increase?

April 13, 2020

Seemingly unconcerned about how the digital project could impact the economy at this crisis moment, officials at the OECD recently released a statement boasting that they are continuing to work “full steam” on their global digital tax project.

India Pushes Digital Taxes in a Difficult Time

March 26, 2020

Even during the coronavirus outbreak, efforts to change the way digital business models are taxed continue. India announced this week that its tax aimed at foreign digital companies, the “equalization levy,” will be expanded.

Worse Than Advertised: The Legal and Economic Pitfalls of Maryland’s Digital Advertising Tax

March 16, 2020

Maryland Lawmakers Provide No Solution to Central Issues with Digital Advertisement Tax

March 11, 2020

Maryland Legislature Seeks Revenue with Risky Proposals

February 26, 2020

FAQ on Digital Services Taxes and the OECD’s BEPS Project

January 30, 2020

What European OECD Countries Are Doing about Digital Services Taxes

June 22, 2020

Despite ongoing multilateral negotiations in the OECD, about half of all European OECD countries have either announced, proposed, or implemented their own unilateral digital services tax.

The Davos Digital (Tax) Détente?

January 23, 2020

The past week has been nearly nonstop with news on various fronts of a dispute over taxation of digital businesses. The main characters have been the U.S., France, and the UK, although the EU and the OECD have also played roles. Though the dust is still settling, it is worth trying to tie the various events and arguments together.

Maryland Legislators Want to Tax Online Advertising

January 15, 2020

Another Digital Services Tax? Canada Adds Its Proposal to the Mix

December 12, 2019

What’s on the Tax Policy Agenda at the EU

December 9, 2019

Trump Administration Proposes Retaliatory Tariffs against France’s Digital Services Tax

December 3, 2019

Tax Foundation Response to OECD Public Consultation Document: Global Anti-Base Erosion Proposal (“GloBE”) (Pillar Two)

December 2, 2019

The Italian DST Marches On

November 18, 2019

Response to OECD Public Consultation Document: Secretariat Proposal for a “Unified Approach” under Pillar One

November 11, 2019

The ABCs of the OECD Secretariat’s Unified Approach on Pillar 1

October 24, 2019

The History of U.S.-France Tax Troubles in One Section of the Tax Code

August 22, 2019

Amazon Passes France’s Digital Services Tax on to Vendors

August 6, 2019

France's new 3 percent digital tax may be targeted at Amazon and other large digital firms, but Amazon’s French vendors will bear the burden of the tax.

The Italian DST Remix

July 23, 2019

Announced, Proposed, and Implemented Digital Services Taxes in Europe

July 18, 2019

France Approves Digital Services Tax; U.S. Explores Retaliatory Options

July 11, 2019

Revenue Estimates for Digital Services Taxes

April 26, 2019

Austria Makes Mid-Stream Adjustment on Digital Tax Efforts

April 3, 2019

France’s Digital Services Tax: Facts and Analysis

March 11, 2019

French Digital Services Tax Would Target A Select Group of Companies

March 4, 2019

Tax Foundation Response to OECD Public Consultation Document: Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digitalization of the Economy

March 4, 2019

Another Step on the Road Toward Fiscal Union?

January 10, 2019

From the EU Digital Services Tax Debate—to the OECD?

December 13, 2018

EU Likely to Pause on Digital Tax Push

November 28, 2018

A Distortionary and Complex Digital Tax Proposal from the UK

November 28, 2018

France is Trying to Have it Both Ways on Tech Policy

November 20, 2018

Falling Behind on Digitalization in Spain

November 14, 2018

A Post-Brexit Budget for Growth? Not in the UK

November 8, 2018

A Wave of Digital Taxation

November 7, 2018

European Tech Firms Have Low Levels of Capital Spending

October 31, 2018

A Summary of Criticisms of the EU Digital Tax

October 22, 2018

Recent Developments on the EU Digital Turnover Tax

September 13, 2018

New Study Raises Questions about European Commission Proposal to Tax Digital Companies

June 25, 2018

New Study Debunks European Commission Claims Justifying New Taxes on Digital Companies

March 19, 2018

European Countries Push Forward on Digital Taxes Despite Pleas to Wait

February 9, 2018

Tax Foundation Comments on the Initiation of Section 301 Investigations of Digital Services Taxes

July 9, 2020

Digital services taxes effectively ring-fence the digital economy by limiting the tax to certain revenue streams of digital businesses, discriminating in favor of more traditional sectors of the economy.

Digital Tax Deadlock: Where Do We Go from Here?

July 1, 2020

We recently hosted an exclusive webinar discussion to get up to speed on recent digital tax developments and gain insight from leading international tax experts on the OECD's BEPS project.

A Blow to Pillar 1

June 17, 2020

The U.S. has called for a pause in global digital tax negotiations, dealing a blow to Pillar 1 of the OECD's international tax project. What happens next could be very harmful for the global economy.

The U.S. Trade Representative Expands Its Digital Services Tax Investigations

June 2, 2020

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) expanded its digital service tax investigations, announcing Section 301 investigations into digital tax policies in nine countries and the European Union. The announcement follows an investigation of the French digital services tax that was completed in 2019, after which the USTR threatened significant #tariffs in retaliation against France.

New York Lawmakers Float New Data Tax Proposal

June 2, 2020

Taxes on digital services, digital advertising, and the sale or utilization of consumer data, which were already emerging before the #coronavirus crisis, look increasingly attractive to cash-strapped states and localities.

Digital Taxation Around the World

May 27, 2020

The digitalization of the economy has been a key focus of tax debates in recent years. Our new report reviews digital tax policies around the world with a focus on OECD countries, explores the various flaws and benefits associated with the wide set of proposals, and provides recommendations for lawmakers to consider.

Digital Services Taxes: Do They Comply with International Tax, Trade, and EU Law?

May 26, 2020

A digital services tax like the one implemented by France likely violates both the General Agreement on Trade in Services and a model U.S. free trade agreement. However, it is uncertain whether meaningful relief could be obtained under either regime.

Gov. Hogan Vetoes Maryland Digital Advertising Tax Legislation

May 7, 2020

Gov. Hogan vetoed a proposed first-in-the-nation digital advertising tax that would have imposed rates of up to 10 percent on digital advertising served to Marylanders.

Worse Than Advertised: The Legal and Economic Pitfalls of Maryland’s Digital Advertising Tax

March 16, 2020

Maryland Lawmakers Provide No Solution to Central Issues with Digital Advertisement Tax

March 11, 2020

Maryland Legislature Seeks Revenue with Risky Proposals

February 26, 2020

Maryland Legislators Want to Tax Online Advertising

January 15, 2020

Who will Ultimately Pay the Digital Services Tax in the UK? Amazon Passes the Cost Along to Sellers

August 4, 2020

When developing tax policy, lawmakers often ignore the incidence of a tax, or who actually pays the tax. Many times, this is different from who is legally required to pay the tax. Just because a 2 percent revenue tax applies to large digital companies does not mean that the companies will bear the entire cost of the tax.

Tax Foundation Comments on the Initiation of Section 301 Investigations of Digital Services Taxes

July 9, 2020

Digital services taxes effectively ring-fence the digital economy by limiting the tax to certain revenue streams of digital businesses, discriminating in favor of more traditional sectors of the economy.

Digital Tax Deadlock: Where Do We Go from Here?

July 1, 2020

We recently hosted an exclusive webinar discussion to get up to speed on recent digital tax developments and gain insight from leading international tax experts on the OECD's BEPS project.

Watch: Taxing the Digital Economy

June 3, 2020

What changed in the global economy that disrupted traditional means of taxation? Is it worth finding a way to include tax digital goods and services in the tax base? Why are digital services taxes so problematic? Are there better options—ways to adapt our current system without introducing complex and economically harmful policies?

Digital Taxation Around the World

May 27, 2020

The digitalization of the economy has been a key focus of tax debates in recent years. Our new report reviews digital tax policies around the world with a focus on OECD countries, explores the various flaws and benefits associated with the wide set of proposals, and provides recommendations for lawmakers to consider.

Digital Services Taxes: Do They Comply with International Tax, Trade, and EU Law?

May 26, 2020

A digital services tax like the one implemented by France likely violates both the General Agreement on Trade in Services and a model U.S. free trade agreement. However, it is uncertain whether meaningful relief could be obtained under either regime.

India Pushes Digital Taxes in a Difficult Time

March 26, 2020

Even during the coronavirus outbreak, efforts to change the way digital business models are taxed continue. India announced this week that its tax aimed at foreign digital companies, the “equalization levy,” will be expanded.

What European OECD Countries Are Doing about Digital Services Taxes

June 22, 2020

Despite ongoing multilateral negotiations in the OECD, about half of all European OECD countries have either announced, proposed, or implemented their own unilateral digital services tax.

The Davos Digital (Tax) Détente?

January 23, 2020

The past week has been nearly nonstop with news on various fronts of a dispute over taxation of digital businesses. The main characters have been the U.S., France, and the UK, although the EU and the OECD have also played roles. Though the dust is still settling, it is worth trying to tie the various events and arguments together.

Another Digital Services Tax? Canada Adds Its Proposal to the Mix

December 12, 2019

Trump Administration Proposes Retaliatory Tariffs against France’s Digital Services Tax

December 3, 2019

The Italian DST Marches On

November 18, 2019

The History of U.S.-France Tax Troubles in One Section of the Tax Code

August 22, 2019

Amazon Passes France’s Digital Services Tax on to Vendors

August 6, 2019

France's new 3 percent digital tax may be targeted at Amazon and other large digital firms, but Amazon’s French vendors will bear the burden of the tax.

The Italian DST Remix

July 23, 2019

Announced, Proposed, and Implemented Digital Services Taxes in Europe

July 18, 2019

France Approves Digital Services Tax; U.S. Explores Retaliatory Options

July 11, 2019

Austria Makes Mid-Stream Adjustment on Digital Tax Efforts

April 3, 2019

France’s Digital Services Tax: Facts and Analysis

March 11, 2019

French Digital Services Tax Would Target A Select Group of Companies

March 4, 2019

A Distortionary and Complex Digital Tax Proposal from the UK

November 28, 2018

France is Trying to Have it Both Ways on Tech Policy

November 20, 2018

Falling Behind on Digitalization in Spain

November 14, 2018

A Post-Brexit Budget for Growth? Not in the UK

November 8, 2018

Two Roads Diverge in the OECD’s Impact Assessment

October 20, 2020

The difference that the OECD presents between the potential impact in the context of agreement compared to a harmful tax and trade war should show policymakers the value of continuing multilateral discussions.

Pillars, Blueprints, an Impact Assessment, and Construction Delays

October 13, 2020

The OECD released blueprints for proposals on changing international tax rules alongside an impact assessment based on the overall design of the proposals. While the blueprints cover proposals both for changing where large multinationals owe corporate tax and designing a global minimum tax, there are still many unanswered questions. In the meantime, other digital tax proposals are moving forward and have the potential to result in a harmful tax and trade war.

Where Should the Money Come From?

August 12, 2020

The fiscal response to the COVID-19 pandemic will require policymakers to consider what revenue resources should be used to fill budget gaps. Tax policy experts have proposed wealth taxes, (global) corporate minimum taxes, excess profits taxes, and digital taxes as opportunities for governments to raise new revenues.

The New EU Budget is Light on Details of Tax Proposals

July 22, 2020

The European Council recently agreed on a new multiannual budget and a recovery program, which sets EU budget levels for 2021-2027 totals €1 trillion (US $1.2 trillion). The lack of details on the various tax proposals and the eventual need for revenue sources to finance new EU debt mean there is a lot of work left for policymakers in Brussels to do.

Tax Foundation Comments on the Initiation of Section 301 Investigations of Digital Services Taxes

July 9, 2020

Digital services taxes effectively ring-fence the digital economy by limiting the tax to certain revenue streams of digital businesses, discriminating in favor of more traditional sectors of the economy.

Digital Tax Deadlock: Where Do We Go from Here?

July 1, 2020

We recently hosted an exclusive webinar discussion to get up to speed on recent digital tax developments and gain insight from leading international tax experts on the OECD's BEPS project.

A Blow to Pillar 1

June 17, 2020

The U.S. has called for a pause in global digital tax negotiations, dealing a blow to Pillar 1 of the OECD's international tax project. What happens next could be very harmful for the global economy.

Watch: Taxing the Digital Economy

June 3, 2020

What changed in the global economy that disrupted traditional means of taxation? Is it worth finding a way to include tax digital goods and services in the tax base? Why are digital services taxes so problematic? Are there better options—ways to adapt our current system without introducing complex and economically harmful policies?

Digital Taxation Around the World

May 27, 2020

The digitalization of the economy has been a key focus of tax debates in recent years. Our new report reviews digital tax policies around the world with a focus on OECD countries, explores the various flaws and benefits associated with the wide set of proposals, and provides recommendations for lawmakers to consider.

Digital Services Taxes: Do They Comply with International Tax, Trade, and EU Law?

May 26, 2020

A digital services tax like the one implemented by France likely violates both the General Agreement on Trade in Services and a model U.S. free trade agreement. However, it is uncertain whether meaningful relief could be obtained under either regime.

Chaos to the Left of Me. Chaos to the Right of me.

May 5, 2020

The OECD recently announced that the negotiation timeline for new digital tax proposals has now been pushed back to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although the end-of-year deadline for the overall project is still in place.

Is Now the Time for a $100 billion Tax Increase?

April 13, 2020

Seemingly unconcerned about how the digital project could impact the economy at this crisis moment, officials at the OECD recently released a statement boasting that they are continuing to work “full steam” on their global digital tax project.

FAQ on Digital Services Taxes and the OECD’s BEPS Project

January 30, 2020

What European OECD Countries Are Doing about Digital Services Taxes

June 22, 2020

Despite ongoing multilateral negotiations in the OECD, about half of all European OECD countries have either announced, proposed, or implemented their own unilateral digital services tax.

The Davos Digital (Tax) Détente?

January 23, 2020

The past week has been nearly nonstop with news on various fronts of a dispute over taxation of digital businesses. The main characters have been the U.S., France, and the UK, although the EU and the OECD have also played roles. Though the dust is still settling, it is worth trying to tie the various events and arguments together.

What’s on the Tax Policy Agenda at the EU

December 9, 2019

The ABCs of the OECD Secretariat’s Unified Approach on Pillar 1

October 24, 2019

Revenue Estimates for Digital Services Taxes

April 26, 2019

Another Step on the Road Toward Fiscal Union?

January 10, 2019

From the EU Digital Services Tax Debate—to the OECD?

December 13, 2018

EU Likely to Pause on Digital Tax Push

November 28, 2018

A Wave of Digital Taxation

November 7, 2018

European Tech Firms Have Low Levels of Capital Spending

October 31, 2018

A Summary of Criticisms of the EU Digital Tax

October 22, 2018

Recent Developments on the EU Digital Turnover Tax

September 13, 2018

New Study Raises Questions about European Commission Proposal to Tax Digital Companies

June 25, 2018

New Study Debunks European Commission Claims Justifying New Taxes on Digital Companies

March 19, 2018

European Countries Push Forward on Digital Taxes Despite Pleas to Wait

February 9, 2018

Tax Foundation Comments on the Initiation of Section 301 Investigations of Digital Services Taxes

July 9, 2020

Digital services taxes effectively ring-fence the digital economy by limiting the tax to certain revenue streams of digital businesses, discriminating in favor of more traditional sectors of the economy.

Tax Policy After Coronavirus: Clearing a Path to Economic Recovery

April 22, 2020

Governments at all levels must work to remove the tax policy barriers that stand in the way of economic recovery and long-term prosperity following the COVID-19 crisis. Our new guide outlines several comprehensive options that policymakers can take at the federal and state levels.

Tax Foundation Response to OECD Public Consultation Document: Global Anti-Base Erosion Proposal (“GloBE”) (Pillar Two)

December 2, 2019

Response to OECD Public Consultation Document: Secretariat Proposal for a “Unified Approach” under Pillar One

November 11, 2019

Tax Foundation Response to OECD Public Consultation Document: Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digitalization of the Economy

March 4, 2019