Briefing

G20 finance ministers considering tax changes targeting tech giants this weekend

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The ministers will discuss a proposal from the OECD that would tax companies based on where they make sales, rather than where they’re headquartered. It also suggests that if companies pay below a minimum level of tax on their global earnings, individual countries will be able to levy them for the difference. (Quartz)

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Talking point: Big Tech firms are the main targets of the tax proposals, since they often build products in a few countries where most of their employees are based—typically the U.S.—and then sell them around the world. Emerging economies, where online platforms have millions of users and consumers but limited assets, are pushing particularly hard for changes to the taxation system. In April, India released a paper proposing to tax multinationals on their local economic activity, regardless of how international negotiations turn out. Other governments and the tech giants are likely to take this threat by India to move forward on its own seriously, because of the country’s track record of regulating Big Tech. In February, India imposed new e-commerce rules favouring local firms over the objections of Amazon and Walmart.