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To Tax Or Not To Tax? The Case Of Electronic Commerce

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  • Donald Bruce
  • William Fox
  • Matthew Murray

Abstract

Despite the intensifying debate over the taxation of Internet commerce, the relevant issues have not been given a systematic treatment in the context of the literature on optimal taxation. This article presents such an analysis and investigates separately the taxation of business purchases of intermediate goods, the taxation of consumer purchases of final goods and services, and the various issues of administration and compliance costs as they apply to the development of E‐commerce. The authors conclude that generally the optimal tax literature cannot be used in support of a blanket tax exemption for Internet purchases. Certain conditions could lead to the optimality of an exemption, but those conditions are not likely to be met in practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald Bruce & William Fox & Matthew Murray, 2003. "To Tax Or Not To Tax? The Case Of Electronic Commerce," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(1), pages 25-40, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:21:y:2003:i:1:p:25-40
    DOI: 10.1093/cep/21.1.25
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/cep/21.1.25
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. William F. Fox and Matthew N. Murray, 2003. "Sales Taxation in Global Economy," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0320, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    2. Robert Tannenwald & Jennifer Weiner & Igor Popov, 2010. "Genesis of State–Local Creativity," Chapters, in: Sally Wallace (ed.),State and Local Fiscal Policy, chapter 3, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Alm, James & Melnik, Mikhail I., 2010. "Do Ebay Sellers Comply With State Sales Taxes?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 63(2), pages 215-236, June.
    4. Bo Sandemann Rasmussen, 2004. "Preferential Taxation of E-Commerce: Imperfectly Competitive Retail Markets and Trade Costs," Economics Working Papers 2004-9, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    5. Ishuan Li & Robert Simonson & Guncha Babajanova & Matthew Tuomala, 2016. "Smartphone Diffusion and Consumer Price Comparison Shopping Behavior: Implications for the Marketplace Fairness Act," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(3), pages 1337-1353.
    6. David R. Agrawal & William F. Fox, 2017. "Taxes in an e-commerce generation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(5), pages 903-926, September.
    7. Tiantian Dai & Shenyi Jiang & Xiangbo Liu & Wen Wang, 2016. "The Impact of Internet Sales Tax in a Search Model of Money: Some Analytical Results," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 17(1), pages 133-144, May.
    8. Bo Sandemann Rasmussen, 2004. "On the Possibility and Desirability of Taxing E-Commerce," Economics Working Papers 2004-8, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    9. Tessa Conroy & Harvey Cutler & Stephan Weiler, 2016. "The State-Level Impacts of Enforcing Sales Taxes for E-retail Purchases," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 276-295, June.
    10. Elgin, Ceyhun, 2013. "Internet usage and the shadow economy: Evidence from panel data," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 111-121.

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