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ATAF Publishes Policy Brief on Digital Services Taxation in Africa

The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) has published a policy brief, Domestic Resource Mobilization (Digital Services Taxation in Africa). As summarized by the ATAF, the policy brief is designed to assist ATAF members in their tax policy considerations of the taxation of highly digitalized businesses operating in African countries. Many ATAF members have reported difficulties in taxing such businesses. Their economies are rapidly becoming more and more digitalized and that digitalization often enables multinational enterprises (MNEs) to carry out business in African countries with no or very limited physical presence in those countries. This makes it difficult for African countries to establish taxing rights over the profits the MNE is making from those business activities.

The policy brief notes that the ATAF is developing a suggested approach to drafting digital services tax legislation to assist ATAF members in their consideration of whether to introduce new rules to tax highly digitalized businesses. In this respect, the policy brief provides a general overview of what a DST would entail, as well as the benefits of a DST and the issues and potential drawbacks.

Members of the ATAF include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros Islands, Egypt, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland (Eswatini), Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

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