Bartering with Big Tech: A Theoretical Application of GST to the Digital Economy
43 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2020
Date Written: September 2, 2019
The world in which taxation takes place is a far cry from what it was 50 years ago. However, the digital economy has changed the way businesses operate faster than domestic and international tax laws have been able to account for these changes. Consequentially, there is significant international concern about how the taxation problems brought about by the digital economy should be addressed. One method of taxation that has not seen much discussion in this context is New Zealand’s Goods and Services Tax system. Internet users are arguably bartering their data and attention for remote services. If data and attention are consideration for GST purposes, and the value of that consideration can be calculated, in theory, GST may apply. The practical problems this kind of tax treatment may face are not insignificant; for example, developing an appropriate and practical valuation method for data and attention. However, with problems as complicated as those posed by the digital economy, it seems prudent to explore all potential solutions.
Keywords: Digital economy, taxation, GST, barter, base erosion and profit shifting, data, attention
JEL Classification: K00, K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation