Digitalization encompasses a wide range of new applications of information technology in business models and products that are transforming the economy and social interactions. Digitalization is both an enabler and a disruptor of businesses. The lack of a generally agreed definition of the “digital economy” or “digital sector” and the lack of industry and product classification for Internet platforms and associated services are hurdles to measuring the digital economy. This paper distinguishes between the “digital sector” and the increasingly digitalized modern economy, often called the “digital economy,” and focuses on the measurement of the digital sector. The digital sector covers the core activities of digitalization, ICT goods and services, online platforms, and platform-enabled activities such as the sharing economy.
The growth of the peer-to-peer (P2P) economy over the last decade has captivated both stock markets and policymakers alike. While the means for transacting might be different to existing firm structures—with the emergence of digital platforms that connect individual buyers and sellers directly—the tax behavior of individuals operating in this new economy are very familiar. What is clear is that while the P2P economy has potentially exacerbated existing policy, administrative, and revenue-mobilization challenges associated with small business taxation—such as the choice of the tax base and how to set tax thresholds—, the technology behind P2P platforms presents a valuable opportunity to eventually solve them.