The ever-increasing digitalization of businesses has accelerated the need to address the many shortcomings and unresolved issues within the international corporate income tax system. In particular, the customer or “user”—through their online activities—is now considered by many as being a critical driving force behind the value of digital services. Furthermore, the rapid growth of digital service providers over the last decade has made them an increasingly popular target for special taxes—similar to wealth and solidarity taxes—which can also help mobilize much-needed revenues in the wake of a crisis. This paper argues that a plausible conceptual case can be made to tax the value generated by users under the corporate income tax. However, a number of issues need to be tackled for user-based tax measures to become a reality, which include agreement among countries on whether user value justifies a reallocation of taxing rights, establishing the legal right to tax income derived from user value, as well as an appropriate metric for valuing user-generated data if it is ever to be used as a tax base. Furthermore, attempting to tax only certain types of business is ill-advised, especially as user data is now being exploited widely enough for it to be recognized as an input for almost all businesses. Several options present themselves for consideration—from a modified permanent establishment definition combined with taxation by formulary apportionment, to user-based royalty-type taxes—each with their own merits and misdemeanors.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Address at the Bank of England Twentieth Anniversary Conference London, U.K. September 29, 2017 International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde delivered this address at the Bank of England conference, “Independence—20 Years On” in London, U.K., on September 29, 2017.
In the wake of the recent global crisis the international community is giving an increased focus on stability of the financial system, so-called financial stability analysis. With the increasing need for data sets to undertake this analysis, the question naturally arises as to what types of data are needed? While various data initiatives are underway, two initiatives at the forefront are: (1) the IMF/FSB G-20 Data Gaps Initiative (DGI) created by the international statistical community and endorsed by the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors as well as the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee, and (2) the new Special Data Dissemination Standard Plus (SDDS Plus), aimed particularly at economies with systemically important financial sectors. This paper explains the relevance of the DGI for financial stability analysis and the close link with the SDDS Plus. The importance of the SDDS Plus in promoting the dissemination to the public of a core set of data for financial stability analysis is emphasized.
This paper constructs a data set to document firms' expenditures on an identifiable list of intangible items and examines the implications of treating intangible spending as an acquisition of final (investment) goods on GDP growth for Canada. It finds that investment in intangible capital by 2002 is almost as large as the investment in physical capital. This result is in line with similar findings for the U.S. and the U.K. Furthermore, the growth in GDP and labor productivity may be underestimated by as much as 0.1 percentage point per year during this same period.
The methodological soundness of statistics in Tunisia is consistent in several areas with outdated international statistical standards. The Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) is responsible for the collection, processing, and dissemination of monetary and balance of payments statistics. The accuracy and reliability of statistics in Tunisia are broadly adequate. Adequate national accounts data and some brief methodological notes are disseminated, albeit with no analyses accompanying the data. However, there is now a need to proceed quickly with the migration to the new standards.
The report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) data module provides a review of France’s data dissemination practices against the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), complemented by an in-depth assessment of the quality of six sets of macroeconomic statistics: national accounts, consumer price and producer price indices, government finance statistics, monetary statistics, and balance of payments statistics. Then, it presents recommendations to achieve improvements in the framework. Serviceability focuses on aspects of datasets, and accessibility deals with the availability of information to users.
The information technology (IT) revolution has arrived, but how much will it change the world? It has been established that IT is contributing to labor productivity growth through both increases in the levels of IT capital per worker and total factor productivity (TFP) growth in the production of IT equipment. The main outstanding issue is whether IT is contributing to TFP growth more generally. Using data on IT expenditure and production for a broad sample of countries, we find a positive, large, and significant effect of IT expenditure on the acceleration in TFP in the late 1990s and a smaller-and significant-effect of IT production. We also find evidence that the impact of IT expenditure on TFP growth increases over time, suggesting that spillovers materialize gradually. Our results suggest that the increase in IT expenditure across industrial countries during 1995-2000 will eventually lead to an average increase in TFP growth of about one-third of 1 percent per year.