For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

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Sunday, 8 July 2007

International Taxation of Electronic Commerce

There are some books that are very, very scary - you really want to have them available when the going gets tough, but you secretly hope that you never have to open them. The IPKat thought that this was going to be one of those books and is secretly very relieved to discover that it isn't. The book he's referring to is the second edition of International Taxation of Electronic Commerce, by Richard A. Westin, which has recently been published by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.

What the publisher says:

"The bricks and mortar of commercial law as we know it are crumbling into dust. Electronic commerce sweeps away the very foundations of what was not so long ago our most solid, comfortable, and secure legal system. In its most advanced form e-commerce allows unidentified purchasers to pay obscure vendors, in `electronic cash,' for products that are often goods, services, and licenses all rolled into one. A payee may be no more than a computer that can take up `residence' anywhere at the drop of a hat; national boundaries are of no consequence whatsoever. Taxation authorities are understandably dismayed.

This book, now in its second edition, is a minutely detailed overview of current reality in the worldwide huddle of revenue regimes as they try to cope with the most daunting challenge they have ever had to face. It analyzes a number of fast-moving trends in the behaviors of national taxation authorities, web-based companies, VoiP, certain low-tax (or no-tax) jurisdictions, and international organizations that have significant bearing on the future development of the taxation of e-commerce. These trends include the following:

Right: the author, Richard A. Westin

* how United States domestic and international tax rules are being interpreted in the effort to accommodate e-commerce;

* the powerful retailers' lobby against the moratorium on U.S. state and local sales tax on Internet transactions;

* how VAT rules in EU countries and other jurisdictions are being restructured to accommodate international e-commerce; new theories of income and payment characterization, and in particular the influential OECD ongoing study and

* the crucial discussion over what constitutes a `permanent establishment for tax purposes".

What the IPKat says:

"While this book has an obvious US bias, its content is much more far-reaching than that, since it takes in the salient of some twenty non-haven jurisdictions and also devotes special attention to the provisions of Canada and Ireland. Of particular interest is the chapter 'Institutional Thinking', which gives an excellent insight into the taxation of e-commerce as viewed from the agenda-rich World Trade Organization, European Commission and OECD. Intellectual property lawyers will want to note, among other things, the chapter on VAT and Withholding Tax Rates on Dividends, Interest and Royalties - which is bound to impinge on tax-planning for digital rights management systems".

Bibliographic details: Price US$294, €230.00. ISBNs 9041125108 and 13 9789041125101.
Hardcover, xxx + 787 pages. Rupture factor: medium to high. Details online here.

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