Taxation of e-Commerce - A Task For Jugglers


  E-commerce presents a radical transformation of the nature of commercial
activities; this creates significant challenges to regulations and tax formulas that are
not specifically directed towards the “virtual” commercial world. A particular area
of concern is the challenges posed by the growth of internet to current commercial
and tax activities. This paper is going to identify the main challenges of assessing the
taxing of e-commerce activities. It discusses the new challenge which faces
governments as well as agencies such as the OECD and WTO regarding traditional
tax concepts and their adjustment for an e-business environment. Contemporary tax
legislation should be evaluated for applicability to the e-commerce platform. The
paper will show the problems which may appear as consequence in the case of non-
applicability; double-taxation, electronic fraud, jurisdictional issues, all complicating
online commercial transactions. Ultimately these may prevent the internet growing
to its full potential as a new virtual commercial world, even replacing the traditional
way of conducting business. Slowly but surely, however, especially after Ottawa,
where the OECD initially examined the issue of e-commerce and taxation, taxing
online commercial activity is becoming an inescapable e-business reality. As a result
the objective should be the realization of a formula of worldwide harmonized e-
commercial regulations to achieve economic, legal and social efficiency. Thus, this
presentation will draw upon some conclusions on the difficulties as well as
preliminary thoughts on solutions.