Thesis or Dissertation International Taxation of Electronic Commerce

Nang Kham, Tipmart

pp.1 - 113 , 2015-03-23 , 新潟大学
学位の種類: 博士(法学). 報告番号: 甲第4022号. 学位記番号: 新大院博(法)甲第29号. 学位授与年月日: 平成27年3月23日
Recent advancement of technology has made possible of new types of business transactions over the internet called E-commerce. E-commerce includes sales of digital products like downloading music, software, and so on, as well as sale of tangible products such as books by internet. According to eMarketer’s latest forecast, the global E-commerce sales in 2014 amounted to 1.5 trillion dollars in B2C sales and it is expected to continue growing furthermore. On the other hand, it has also caused difficulties in taxation under the current international tax principles regarding business profits derived from such transactions. According to the current international income tax principles on business profits, a taxpayer is taxable in a source country only if it has a permanent establishment (PE) such as a branch in a source country, which is a fixed place of business through which the business of an enterprise is wholly or partly carried on. Otherwise, those incomes are exempted from taxation in a source country. However, different from conventional types of transactions, E-commerce transactions need no physical presence to do business continuously in the source country since the core activities of business can be conducted online. Therefore the permanent establishment no longer functions as an effective criterion to measure the nexus of the taxpayer with the source country. Nevertheless, if the business profits derived from E-commerce is not taxable in absence of PE under the current definition of PE, it will not only unfair to traditional business, but also it will dramatically reduce the government income for years to come. Accordingly the concept of PE needs some modification to match the new situation. Likewise, E-commerce has caused problems regarding Consumption Tax equivalent to VAT in EU. Under the current rules, Consumption Tax is due where the transactions are made. In case of E-commerce, the core activities of transactions are all done on computer servers. Hence, if a foreign taxpayer conducts the E-commerce by using the computer server located outside of a country in demand, the E-commerce transaction is not taxable by Consumption Tax whereas a domestic taxpayer in the country in demand conducts the same business with the same customers are taxable. It is against fairness and neutrality in taxation of Consumption Tax.
Thus, with regard to E-commerce taxation, issues are different between Corporate Income Tax on incomes derived from E-commerce and Consumption Tax on the values added by E-commerce. This paper addressed the issues of taxation, from the viewpoints of the source rules and the definition of PE for Corporate Income Tax, and the place of transaction for Consumption Tax, as well as how to realize the compliance of the new system and the possibility of reaching international consensus. I reached conclusions upon the research in reference to and comparison of the systems introduced in the EU and the United States, new international tax rules proposed by prominent tax scholars and the BEPS/G20 Report, as follows: I. Consumption Tax on E-commerce 1. E-commerce transaction should be regarded to take place where the consumer is situated; 2. If the E-commerce is B2B transaction, the reverse charge system should be introduced; 3. If the E-commerce is B2C transaction, the voluntary compliance system by the seller should be introduced; II. Corporate Income Tax on business profits from E-commerce 4. Creation of new income category as “Active income from E-commerce” which is composed of royalties, sales of tangible properties, and fees for rendering services, derived from E-commerce; 5. Creation of new source rules regarding “Active income from E-commerce”: Active income from E-commerce shall be regarded sourced in a country where a buyer is located; 6. Active income from E-commerce may be always taxable by a country where the buyer is located; 7. If the E-commerce is B2B transaction, the buyer is obliged to withhold Income Tax at a fixed rate each time the transaction is made; 8. If the E-commerce is B2C transaction, the voluntary compliance system by the seller should be introduced under which the seller pays the tax at a fixed tax rate on his aggregate annual Active income from E-commerce to the Japanese Government, on parity with B2B transactions; III. Common in both Consumption Tax and Corporate Income Tax 9. In order for a foreign seller to identify whether the buyers are business persons or consumers, my number system to be introduced into Japan should be used; 10. In order to deal with the failure of voluntary compliance by foreign taxpayers conducting E-commerce, the international tax treaty for mutual assistance of tax administration should be facilitated quickly.

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