Finance ministers of the Group of Seven economic powers will agree on the need to tax the sale of data such as software, music and other digital information via the Internet, at their meeting scheduled for July in Fukuoka, sources close to negotiations told Kyodo News on Sunday.
The planned agreement will help the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development develop a global tax system for the sale of data via the Internet, the sources said.
It does not mean, however, a tax system will be launched soon after the agreement, the sources said, citing differences between the United States, which is opposed to such a tax, and European countries and Japan, which are in support of the move.
Under the current system, the sale of items over the Internet, such as compact disks and videos, is taxed, while the downloading of music and images for sale is not.
The trade in data via the Internet is considered a threat to government revenues based on indirect taxes, the sources said.
The OECD’s final draft will require a seller to register with the tax authorities in the consumer’s country.
The top financial officials from Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and the U.S. are also expected to discuss a system to identify consumers and vendors, and to confirm sales.
On Monday last week, Nobuaki Usui, the Finance Ministry’s top bureaucrat, said it would be reasonable to tax such individuals or corporations when they are turning a profit.
In February, U.S. President Bill Clinton said that electronic commerce is important for the U.S. economy and that no discriminatory taxes should be imposed on the online sale of data.
The U.S. does not tax the trade of software and music data across state borders.