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(Fwd) [FYI] Neuigkeiten zur Besteuerung im Internet

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Priority:      normal
Date:          Sun, 21 Jun 1998 21:03:17 +0000
Reply-to:      Juristische Fragen zu elektronischen Kommunikationsdiensten
From:          Thomas Hoeren <hoeren@UNI-MUENSTER.DE>
Subject:       [NETLAW-L] Neuigkeiten zur Besteuerung im Internet

Liebe KollegInnen,
hier eine Pressemitteilung der Kommission zu neuen Vorschlägen für
eine Besteuerung des Electronic Commerce. Gruss Ihr T.H.

 Brussels, 17 June 1998
Electronic commerce: Commission sets out guidelines for indirect

The Commission has adopted a Communication that takes stock of
progress towards deciding how to apply indirect taxation to electronic
commerce. It is proposing a number of guidelines intended to serve as
a basis for discussions with all parties interested in the development
of electronic commerce. The guidelines are designed to ensure that
taxation is certain, simple and neutral in order to avoid any
distortion of the market and to promote the growth of electronic
commerce. The Commission wishes to clarify, adapt and simplify the
existing tax system, while excluding any new taxes on the provision of
these services, including via the Internet. The Communication is
intended to form the basis of the European Union's contribution to the
OECD Ministerial Conference to be held in Ottawa in October.

"Electronic commerce is only in its early stages, but its development
could soon become a major source of growth and job creation" commented
Mario Monti (Tax Commissioner). "We need to find solutions, in
cooperation with all interested parties at Community and international
level, so that the tax system does not impede the development of this
highly promising sector. The principles we are setting out provide a
clear framework for future work and dispel a number of uncertainties.
The Council can consider them as the basic elements of what the EU's
position will be at the Ottawa conference."

The guidelines being proposed by the Commission are a first step
preparing the ground for an open debate on the application of indirect
taxation to electronic commerce with all interested parties at
Community and international level. The Commission's aim is to ensure
that electronic commerce can develop in a tax environment where the
burden is minimal and where neutrality in relation to other forms of
commerce is guaranteed (no advantages or disadvantages).
Implementation of the guidelines will have to take full account of
commercial practices in the new environment and will then have to be
refined in the light of the work being undertaken in close
collaboration with industry and national administrations.

The following principles were adopted:

1. No new taxes

The aim is to adapt existing taxes, and more specifically VAT, without
introducing any new taxes.

2. Electronic transmission to be considered as the provision of a

Community VAT legislation draws a basic distinction between the supply
of goods and the provision of services. When electronic commerce
involves products being supplied via electronic transmission,
including the sale of "virtual goods", it must be considered for VAT
purposes as the provision of a service.

3. Ensuring neutrality

Current Community VAT legislation must be adapted so that services are
taxed systematically within the Union when they are supplied for the
purpose of being consumed there. However, where services are provided
from within the Community in order to be consumed outside it, they
should not be taxed and input VAT must be deductible. The same rules
should be followed in order to ensure neutrality in relation to other
forms of commerce and thus to avoid any distortion of competition.

4. Making compliance easy

There is a need to create, by way of an international consensus and on
the basis of cooperation with business, the right tools for
establishing tax systems which are compatible with commercial practice
and which are as simple and as easy as possible. Such tools must also
be capable of controlling and preventing abuse. Businesses should be
able to discharge their tax obligations by means of electronic VAT
returns and accounting. This document can be found at: