📢 Digital Tax Hullabaloo

by Yash Gohel

Star’s Bucks 💵 💵


The coffee ☕ giant Starbucks was fined for profiting from the country’s GST. NAA (National Anti-profiteering Authority) took Starbucks to Delhi High Court. It’s now required to pay a fine of INR 10.4 million ($138,000) for not passing on tax savings to consumers. In November’20, a similar incident took place where Procter & Gamble 🪒 was ordered to repay INR 24.15 billion ($32.6 million).


Call it a looming trend?🤔


Nevertheless, the validity of NAA and the court’s judgment is being questioned.🧐 Around 50 companies have filed petitions against the anti-profiteering regulations including Johnson & Johnson, Whirlpool, Nestle, Hindustan Unilever, Philips, and Subway.


📢 Digital Tax Hullabaloo



Since last year, digital taxes have caused a stir. From Tech Giants like Amazon, Google, Netflix, etc to international organizations like the G20 Nations and the OECD – everyone seems to be involved.💁 So what’s happening?


Maryland, USA. The first ☝️ state to start a tax on digital advertising revenue. This tax, without a doubt, targets companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. With effect from the 2021 tax year, companies earning more than $100 million from advertising revenue will fall under Maryland’s digital tax category. The rates will range from 2.5 to 10%.


Is this how it begins? A spark to the fire!🔥


Tech companies like Amazon and Netflix are already increasing their US cash reserves. 💰 They are well aware of the tax burden coming their way from the entire world and their home country as well.


💬 The US “will engage robustly to address both pillars of the OECD project, the tax challenges of digitization and a robust global minimum tax.” In short, the Biden administration is willing 👍 to come to a consensus and help reform the global digital taxation rules.


Poland. The government was forced to revise its plan to introduce a digital advertising tax after backlash from companies and politicians. 🗣️ Media companies argued that the tax threatens the freedom of the press given the dependence of traditional media on advertising and subscriptions. The Polish government said its intention is to tax global companies and not domestic businesses to fund the healthcare costs which came about due to the pandemic.


Singapore. The advertising tax laws have been amended in this week’s budget proposals! From 2022, if a customer of the service belongs outside Singapore media 📺 sales will be zero-rated, 🏠 while if a customer belongs in Singapore they will be standard-rated. So, the tax liability will depend on where the contractual customer and direct beneficiary of the service resides.


The art of being subtle.🤫


The UN. There was a sweeping recommendation – the implementation of an international corporate tax rate between 20 to 40%. Multinationals continue to exploit loopholes and take advantage of tax havens. Governments lose between $500-650 billion every year. In India, the money lost from tax avoidance could cover hospital ⚕️ treatments for 55 million people annually.


Not only that. ‘A tax on digital services’ was also part of the agenda. France has already moved forward with such a tax. 📝 The UN called for a digital services tax provision to be included in the UN Tax Convention so that other countries can follow suit.


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💰 Crazy Tax Story – Blue Gold



Because it’s cold. Only Hot Soup gets taxed.
Makes sense? Of course not. But here’s something very similar…



With an average production of more than 75 million pounds a year, the state of Maine produces the most wild blueberries of any state in the USA. In fact, the state produces 99% of the wild blueberries in the United States. It has now become one of the most important agricultural industries of Maine. And this makes it necessary to protect it with a tax. 


In 2012, Maine collected over $680k in Blueberry Tax (its official name), which charges blueberry pickers and processors 3/4 of a cent per pound of wild blueberries (applied on top of the normal taxes). All of the Blueberry Tax money goes to the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine. And if you’re caught picking, transporting, or selling bootleg berries, the state police are authorized to put you in jail.


Talk about filling up the coffers.


💭 Byte of The Day


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