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The Canadian Digital Services Tax

Cui in this paper considers the Canadian draft Digital Services Tax Act (DSTA) and the status of the Act in Canada. Cui notes that there has been a dismissal of the Canadian efforts towards taxation of the digital economy both within and outside Canada, and highlights three ways in which this dismissal of Canada’s proposed DST is worthy of consideration. Cui opines that the Canadian DST is much broader in scope than its U.K. and French counterparts, which in his view displaces criticism as to narrow scope which was leveled against the UK and French digital services taxes. Secondly, the author argues that the DSTA raises important new questions about DST design, especially in connection with taxing business-to-business and social media platforms, that may not be just technical in nature, but requires debate on the DST’s purpose. Finally, Cui notes that, since the enactment of the DST in 2019, the world has been plagued by other larger, and seemingly intractable, trade disputes. Yet the global tax profession continues to be fixated on the pettier trade dispute that DSTs have generated.

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Wei Cui

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