The government released, as previously announced, a discussion document with regard to proposals for a digital services tax.
The New Zealand discussion document acknowledges the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) work and “roadmap” on tax issues arising from the digitalisation of the economy, and requests submissions on the OECD options as well as feedback on a digital services tax for New Zealand if sufficient progress on a multilateral solution is not made. A meeting of the OECD in June 2019 is shaping up as a key indicator of likely progress.
A digital services tax in New Zealand would apply to electronic platforms facilitating the sale of goods and services (i.e., intermediation platforms), social media platforms, content sharing sites, and companies providing search engines or selling user data. This would include New Zealand businesses operating in this space, if thresholds are met. A number of the OECD proposals are more wide ranging and potentially apply to a broader set of multinational businesses.
The government’s media statement, accompanying the release of the discussion document, states that the intention is that “multinationals pay their fair share of tax.” Who pays the digital services tax may not necessarily be the same person as who bears the cost (either directly or indirectly). The consultation is an opportunity to consider the OECD and New Zealand digital services tax proposals and the potential implications on the New Zealand economy and tax base to answer that question.
Read a June 2019 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in New Zealand
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