Although internet has facilitated international trade and travel, I don't think that there should be an additional tax for companies that operate in the online environment. I have a travel agency, http://www.frenchmaison.co.uk/ that is based only on internet customers wanting to travel to France. It's a small business and it would be a burden for me to have to pay extra taxes to the French government. All businesses should be treated alike no matter if they are online or not.
Again, that simply isn't so. I'm in the UK and pay VAT on every Amazon download I buy.
Mind you there are some other US firms who clearly don't know their obligations and don't charge VAT, but i'm not naming them :-)
This applies in the EU. A US company selling say downloaded software is supposed to register for VAT, but they can choose any member state to register in.
They then charge the VAT rate of that member state rather than that of the purchaser's.
The problem there is that credit card payments could be for anything, all the card companies know is the amount, vendor and purchaser.
So how do they differentiate between card payments for things on which all taxes have been charged and those that aren't?
It's already in place. The EU already demands that extra-EU companies selling services like downloaded software and books charge (and hence pay) VAT on each transaction.
Of course enforcement is spotty, but big firms like Amazon certainly comply.
This isn't about sales taxes but corporation taxes on profits - the profits are generated outside the EU despite the sales being into the EU.
Correct, and that happens to a certain extent. The problem is that these businesses will legally set themselves in tax havens e.g. Luxembourg or the Channel Islands, within the same jurisdiction e.g. the EU or the UK. It is possible to crack down on these practices, but there are vested interests...
I think the problems come with trying to levy taxes on things like iTunes, eBay and Amazon sales.
People pay to download tunes and other intangibles.....and little or no tax is paid in the country of consumption...Meanwhile the physical CDs on which sales tax of about 20 percent was due go unsold.
Oh, and as far as international trade go, if you go through customs carrying more than a certain value of stuff you bought overseas, US customs will demand their share. So I suppose that too could be applied, to be fair, also to international Internet sales, no?