Computers

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Mr. Andrew Baer, Mr. Kwangwon Lee, and James Tebrake
Digitalization and the innovative use of digital technologies is changing the way we work, learn, communicate, buy and sell products. One emerging digital technology of growing importance is cloud computing. More and more businesses, governments and households are purchasing hardware and software services from a small number of large cloud computing providers. This change is having an impact on how macroeconomic data are compiled and how they are interpreted by users. Specifically, this is changing the information and communication technology (ICT) investment pattern from one where ICT investment was diversified across many industries to a more concentrated investment pattern. Additionally, this is having an impact on cross-border flows of commercial services since the cloud service provider does not need to be located in the same economic territory as the purchaser of cloud services. This paper will outline some of the methodological and compilation challenges facing statisticians and analysts, provide some tools that can be used to overcome these challenges and highlight some of the implications these changes are having on the way users of national accounts data look at investment and trade in commercial services.
Aqib Aslam and Ms. Alpa Shah
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.
Lisbeth Rivas and Mr. Joe Crowley
Statistical agencies worldwide are increasingly turning to new data sources, including administrative data, to improve statistical coverage. Administrative data can significantly enhance the quality of national statistics and produce synergies with tax administration and other government agencies, supporting better decision making, policy advice, and economic performance. Compared to economic censuses and business surveys, administrative data are less burdensome to collect and produce more timely, detailed, and accurate data with better coverage. This paper specifically explores the use of value added tax and income tax records to enhance the compilation of national accounts statistics.
International Monetary Fund
The paper presents an update on the status of the standard template to collect data on government revenues from natural resources, originally presented to the Executive Board in January 2014. The paper discusses: (i) the field-testing of the standard template in six countries, which confirmed the feasibility of applying it more broadly; (ii) the final version of the template based on outcomes of consultation with the international community and the field-testing visits; and (iii) the adoption of the template by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) International Secretariat as a mandatory reporting requirement for its member countries. The standard template serves as a companion to the Guide to Analyze Natural Resources in the National Accounts. The standard template was developed to support fiscal policy formulation and analysis in resource-rich economies, which constitute about one third of the Fund’s membership. The standard template is based on the revenue classification of the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014, thereby facilitating the collection of resource revenue data in methodologically sound, analytically relevant, and cross-country comparable format.

Abstract

Taxation, like politics, is the art of the possible--yet most public finance texts ignore the critical role played by tax administration in restoring macroeconomic balance and promoting equity and efficiency. This volume, edited by Richard M. Bird and Milka Casanegra de Jantscher, fills a gap in the literature by linking tax policy and tax administration reform and exploring ways to improve taxpayer compliance.