Publication Date

Spring 2023


Virginia Journal of Law and Technology


The proliferation of digital services taxes (DSTs) in Europe is generally understood as a way for those countries to claim taxing rights over the profits of large digital platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Under prevailing norms of international income taxation, these businesses had been able to avoid paying taxes in countries where they had no physical presence, even if they had many users in those countries. But the rise of big tech has generated a set of regulatory and political challenges, and tax is only one of these. The adoption of DSTs is not only about the fair allocation of taxing rights, but also economic competition between the U.S. and the EU, anxiety over the effects of digital platforms on society, and antitrust concerns about the economic power of the tech giants. Emerging from such a diverse set of regulatory and political concerns and from the minds of politicians rather than tax scholars, it is unsurprising that DSTs do not easily fit within the existing international tax architecture. DSTs provide an interesting illustration of how tax scholarship grapples with a novel tax, oscillating between trying to shoehorn the tax into existing legal categories and providing familiar justifications from within the dominant tax theory discourses, or allowing the tax to introduce new concepts and new justifications.



First Page



University of Virginia School of Law


digital services taxes, dst, digital economy, digital platforms, platform economy, global tax deal, tax


Law | Tax Law

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