大型数字企业将须缴纳更高税款

英国《金融时报》 罗宾•哈丁 福冈报道
2019.06.10 12:00

在20国集团(G20)财长们同意加快对跨境企业税的彻底改革后,很快,无论Facebook和谷歌(Google)等数字企业在一个国家是否设有实体、是否产生账面利润,它们都必须在这个国家纳税。

在日本福冈G20财长会议后发布的一份公报中,这些全球最大经济体的财长们表示,他们的目标是“到2020年”就新规则达成一致。但仍有很大的分歧需要解决。作为全球多数数字巨头的母国,美国反对将数字企业与其他企业区别对待的规则。

这些提议将导致全球一些价值最高的公司缴纳更高的税款,并改变当今世界国际税收的基本原则——在当今世界中,经济价值产生于思想和数据的流动,而非实物商品的流动。

“如今有一种基于数字活动、基于销售、交换和和使用海量数据的新经济模式,”法国财长布鲁诺•勒梅尔(Bruno Le Maire)表示,“目前,对这种新经济模式没有公允的征税机制。”

数字企业提供的服务是跨越国界的,并且它们通常可以选择将销售收入在税率较低的地区入账。例如,一些国家可能无法对互联网广告的利润征税,即使这些广告是由这些国家的公民购买、并向这些国家的公民展示。

英国和法国都将根据搜索引擎和数字市场的本地销售收入征收数字服务税。然而,由于两国将销售收入、而不是利润作为征税目标,存在双重征税的风险。

“美国对法国和英国目前提议的两个税项表示严重关切,”美国财长史蒂文•姆努钦(Steven Mnuchin)表示。他说,欧洲提出的税项“使我们迫切需要处理这一问题”。

勒梅尔和英国财政大臣菲利普•哈蒙德(Philip Hammond)都誓言,一旦G20就如何征税达成一致,他们将废除自己的数字税。

G20正在研究对数字企业征税的各种方式。一种想法是计算数字企业的“非常规”利润。另一种想法是使用现有的利润计算结果,然后将部分利润重新分配到不同的国家。第三种可能性是为所有国家设定营销和分销的“基线利润”。

新系统还需要一套规则来决定,满足何种条件时(例如,通过居住在该国的用户社区生成内容),可以认为一家数字企业事实上是参与了一国经济,而不是仅仅在跨境销售产品。

“全球税收规则的目标仍应是以创造价值的地点为依据、而不是仅仅以销售地点为依据对企业征税,” 哈蒙德表示,“我们需要确保,改革后的国际税收体系将继续奖励那些创造有吸引力的营商环境的国家。”

尽管对新税法的形式和范围存在争议,但G20财长们表示,除了改革别无选择。“听起来我们达成了一个强有力的共识,”姆努钦表示,“所以,我们现在需要的是把共识……转化成一项协议。”

就全球经济问题进行讨论后,G20财长们声明,“贸易和地缘政治紧张局势加剧”,同时经济增长低迷,“存在下行风险”。

在美中贸易战僵持不下之际,能在本月底于日本大阪召开的G20峰会前夕说服两国同意一份联合公报是一个积极的信号。然而,财长们没有提出任何旨在缓解贸易紧张局势或应对经济前景风险的新政策承诺。

译者/何黎

原文:Digital giants face tax setback after G20 agreement

By Robin Harding in Fukuoka

Digital companies such as Facebook and Google will soon have to pay taxes regardless of their physical presence or measured profits in a country after G20 finance ministers agreed to accelerate a radical shake-up of cross-border corporate tax.

In a communiqué issued after their meeting in Fukuoka, Japan, finance ministers from the world’s largest economies said they aimed to agree on new rules “by 2020”. But there are still big differences to resolve, with the US, home to most of the world’s digital giants, opposed to rules that treat digital companies differently to others.

The proposals will lead to higher tax bills for some of the world’s most valuable companies and transform the basic tenets of international tax for a world where economic value comes from flows of ideas and data rather than physical goods.

“We have a new economic model based on digital activities and based on the sale and exchange and use of massive data,” said Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister. “For the time being there is no fair taxation of this new economic model.”

Digital companies provide their services across borders and can often choose to book sales in a low-tax jurisdiction. Countries may have no way to tax profits from internet advertising, for example, even if the adverts are bought by their citizens and shown to their citizens.

The  UK and  France are both bringing in digital services taxes based on the local sales of search engines and digital marketplaces. Because they target sales and not profits, however, there is a risk of double taxation.

“The US has significant concerns with the two current taxes that are being proposed by France and the UK,” said Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury secretary. He said the European taxes had “created an urgency for us to deal with this issue”.

Mr Le Maire and Philip Hammond, the UK chancellor, both vowed to scrap their digital taxes as soon as there was an agreed G20 approach.

The G20 is looking at various ways to tax digital companies. One idea is to calculate the “non-routine” profits made by a digital company. Another approach is to use existing calculations of profits and then reallocate part of them to different countries. A third possibility is to specify a “baseline profit” for marketing and distribution in any given country.

The new system will also need a set of rules to decide when a digital company is actually involved in a national economy — for example, generating content from a community of users who live there — rather than simply selling a product across borders.

“Global tax rules should still aim to tax businesses based on where they create value, not just on where they make sales,” said Mr Hammond. “We need to ensure the reformed international tax system continues to reward countries for creating attractive business environments.”

Despite disputes over the form and scope of the new tax rules, the G20 ministers signalled there was no alternative to a reform. “It sounds like we have a strong consensus,” said Mr Mnuchin. “So now we need to just take the consensus . . . [and] turn this into an agreement.”

Following their discussion on the global economy, the G20 ministers declared that “trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified”, while growth is low and “risks remain tilted to the downside”.

With the US and China locked in a trade war, persuading them to agree on a communiqué is a positive sign ahead of the G20 leaders’ summit in Osaka at the end of the month. However, the finance ministers offered no new policy pledges to reduce trade tensions or tackle risks to the economic outlook.


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