Talking Tax podcast

Taxing Digital Is Hard, Former State Tax Chief Says

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For more than a decade, states have had to grapple with the challenge of taxing the digital economy. Peering into cyberspace, tax administrators were often left with more questions than answers. What online products and services should be taxed? How does a state source a virtual creation to a specific jurisdiction? Can states even tax digital products and services in the face of federal limits on discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce? State tax authorities now have to answer these questions without Gil Brewer, who retired at the end of January from his position as assistant director of tax policy at the Washington State Department of Revenue and stepped down as chairman of the Multistate Tax Commission’s digital products work group. Brewer assisted with Washington’s pioneering efforts to equitably and efficiently tax digital goods and services dating back to 2009. He lobbied the tax commission in 2021 to launch an ambitious project aimed at uniform digital economy tax policies across the states. On this episode of Talking Tax, Bloomberg Tax senior reporter Michael J. Bologna caught up with Brewer to discuss his career in tax, his views on state taxation of digital products, and the risks the states and taxpayers face if they fail to develop thoughtful and legally defensible policies taxing digital products and services. Do you have feedback on this episode of Talking Tax? Give us a call and leave a voicemail at 703-341-3690.

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