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Taxing the platforms No one likes taxes. So the suggestion that platforms be taxed can be derided. However, tax systems have failed to adapt to technological change. By devising how to tax the global platforms, reforms will not only raise new revenue but also have the impact of levelling the playing field. Let’s have one thing cleared; levelling the competitive playing field is not the function of a tax system. Taxes are levied to collect revenue, more or less. However, in the hands of skilled regulators, other objectives can also be met while tinkering the taxes. Due to the centrality of intellectual property in their success, it’s challenging to figure where a platform multinational makes money. Tech giants famously stash their intellectual property in low tax jurisdictions and pay little tax elsewhere. That makes taxing their income (profit) challenging. However, other countries including India are moving swiftly to impose sales taxes. That may be, in India’s case, to give their brick-and-mortar competitors a fighting chance. Ultimately, it creates a level playing field. E-commerce may emerge the winner but not because it had a tax break to start with.

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