Tax Wars: The Battle over Taxing Global Digital Commerce

Tax Notes, vol. 161, p. 1331

10 Pages Posted:

Date Written: December 10, 2018


This Article discusses the emergence of an international tax “war”and provides an overview of global digital taxation reform efforts. Governments have been unable to attain consensus surrounding how to tax cross-border digital transactions. As a result, dozens of governments are now pursuing uncoordinated reforms--including digital services taxes, economic presence tests, withholding taxes and equalization levies--that will encourage international double taxation and inhibit cross-border trade and investment. The global digital tax conflict masks a growing dissatisfaction with how to tax value associated with global transactions. Until this larger problem is unresolved, the war may continue unabated.

Keywords: tax law, accounting, digital tax, e-commerce, withholding tax

JEL Classification: K34, H21, H26

Suggested Citation

Cockfield, Arthur, Tax Wars: The Battle over Taxing Global Digital Commerce (December 10, 2018). Tax Notes, vol. 161, p. 1331. Available at SSRN:

Arthur Cockfield (Contact Author)

Queen's University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Macdonald Hall
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6 K7L3N6

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics