Google and Facebook currently control close to two-thirds of global advertising revenue. While dominating the online advertising market, these two companies have thus far avoided paying adequate taxes.
This CAMRI policy brief presents a new policy innovation, the online advertising tax. Considering the key role of user activity and user data for the value of Google and Facebook’s services, it explains how digital advertising companies’ revenues could be taxed based on the respective country in which targeted users are located.
The author reviews existing policy arguments and policy options and sets out practical steps to ensure that tax avoidance by online advertising companies is mitigated. Furthermore, he illustrates how tax revenues could be used to support public service internet platforms.Book Details
Online advertising will soon form the largest share of global advertisement revenues. Google and Facebook netted profits of US $29 billion in 2016. While these two giants control more than 66% of all online advertising revenues complex legal company structures have minimised their tax liabilities. This extended policy report considers where they should be taxed and where the value of their activities is actually created. It argues that tax paid by those platforms should be levied in the country where platform users are located when they click on or view an advertisement. Furthermore, the report examines the practical steps needed to ensure transparent accounting of taxed transactions in order to avoid long term negative effects for media and democracy.
Considering counter-arguments the author makes the case for an online advertising tax alongside a public service Internet strategy that could support other viable platforms and counter the dangers of duopoly or oligopoly and the high risks of financial bubbles in a world where advertising is the Internet's dominant business model.Book Details