Tax authorities around the world continue to change VAT rules to capture revenues from the e-commerce sector. The new rules are designed to level the playing field between international and domestic operators while (authorities hope) unlocking a gold mine of tax revenue.
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The ad hoc development of e-commerce policies for value-added taxes (“VAT”) has resulted in a hodgepodge of inconsistent tax regulations that vary widely by country. Recognizing the growing importance of e-commerce, the confusion resulting from current systems, and the magnitude of frequently forgone VAT revenue, many countries as well as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) have set out to clarify, systematize and coordinate VAT regulations. These changes, many of which have been or are being implemented in 2015, have significant implications for businesses with e-commerce operations. Understanding and complying with these VAT laws is important to success in international e-commerce.