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The Future of VAT in a Digital Global Economy, Vienna (2014)

From September 24-26, 2014, the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law together with PwC and Lawsquare hosted a global conference on the topic “The Future of VAT in a Global Digital Economy”. The organizers managed to gather internationally renowned professionals and academics to tackle the hottest and most pressing issues in the context of excise taxation of the so-called “digital economy”. 

The digitalization of the economy poses a major challenge to excise taxation. Traditional concepts of VAT such as the distinction between goods and services as well as the destination/source principle cannot be easily applied to digital supplies, e-services and, for example, virtual currencies. Distinguished academics, policy makers from bodies such as the OECD and the EU Commission as well as practitioners and government representatives from all over the world gathered in Vienna to tackle these issues. Participants came from as far as New Zealand, Australia, India, Canada, the U.S.A., Colombia, Sri Lanka, Mauritus, South Africa and China. 

The key issues which were subject to discussion were business models in the digital global economy, the treatment of digital supplies and other e-services under VAT B2C vs B2B, the definition of the place of taxation of digital activities, vouchers, virtual currencies and e-money as well as issues regarding the collection of VAT. Among the speakers were distinguished experts in indirect taxation from various areas.

The findings of the conference were published in a book. Given the expertise of the speakers, the book contributes to the solution of the global challenges posed by the digital economy.