Taxation of Electronic Commerce: A Developing Problem

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The rapid growth of e-commerce, especially the sale of goods and services over the internet, has fuelled a debate about the taxation regimes to be used. The shift from a physically oriented commercial environment to a knowledge-based electronic environment poses serious and substantial issues in relation to taxation and taxation regimes. Tax administrations throughout the world face the formidable task of protecting their revenue base without hindering either the development of new technologies or the involvement of the business community in the evolving and growing e-market place. Concerns of governments centre on the impact of e-commerce on the state and local revenue. Whereas states can impose a tax on residents' purchases from out-of-state vendors, they cannot impose an obligation on those vendors to collect the tax unless the vendor has a substantial presence, or nexus, in the state. These problems will be greater for developing countries. The shrinking of the tax base will have a disproportionate effect and further jeopardize the already fragile economy of the developing world.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2002

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