Home » Are Digital Companies Really Undertaxed? Evidence Using the Weighted Effective Tax Rate Method

Are Digital Companies Really Undertaxed? Evidence Using the Weighted Effective Tax Rate Method

WP 2022-09.

This paper examines the assumptions that traditional companies are subjected to a higher level of taxation companies than digital companies. Our paper calculates the effective corporate tax rate (ECTR) for a total of 463 global companies (217 digital and 246 traditional) between 2010 and 2020. The results show that the effective tax rate does not differ substantially between digital and traditional companies. On the contrary, in some years the tax burden was higher for digital companies. Therefore, if we want the tax rates of digital and traditional companies to be equal, digital companies should have received tax relief at least for the years 2012 to 2015, when the effective tax rate of digital companies was higher. The models in the paper also show an increasing trend in the effective corporate tax rate of digital companies over time as the market itself and the companies mature and become more established. Over the entire observation period, and in no individual year of observation between 2010 and 2020, was the difference in effective tax rate between digital and traditional companies on an average across selected countries three percentage points or more. Three percent is the value of the digital tax that the European Commission proposes as part of the temporary solution. The difference has always been smaller, so an additional tax of 3% for digital services would in turn lead to a higher burden on digital companies than on traditional companies.

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