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Ratas, Commissioner Moscovici discuss fair taxation of digital economy

Commissioner Moscovici and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas in Tallinn on Friday. Sept. 15, 2017.
Commissioner Moscovici and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas in Tallinn on Friday. Sept. 15, 2017. Source: (Jürgen Randma/Government Office)

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) met with European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici on Friday to discuss the taxation of the digital economy.

"International taxation rules are outdated and fail to consider the special features of companies using digital assets and solutions," Ratas said according to a presidency press release. "Therefore, companies that implement digital solutions pay less for taxes than so-called conventional companies. The public is primarily talking about internet giants such as Google and Facebook, but this topic actually concerns the entire digital economy. The question is about fair taxation, and where and when the taxes are paid."

The Estonian prime minister added that a long-term global solution is required, as the digital economy does not recognize any national borders.

Ratas and Moscovici also discussed the future of the European economic and monetary union (EMU) as well as the prospects for the development of the EU customs IT systems prior to the informal meeting of economy and finance ministers of the EU which began in Tallinn on Friday.

According to Ratas, now is the time to talk about reforms of the euro area and reduce debt levels, as the European economy is growing for the fifth year running. There are currently common customs rules in place in the EU, but IT systems for their implementation are developed separately by each country. "Developing 28 different customs IT systems is inefficient," Ratas commented.

Topics to be discussed by the EU ministers of economy and finance in Tallinn on Friday and Saturday included the taxation of the digital economy, the future of the euro area, and the coherent development of customs IT systems, all of which are priorities of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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