Back to e-commerce
Some years ago now, I wrote a chapter on taxation for a book on e-commerce, now long out of print, explains Simon Sweetman.
At the time this was a hot topic, with fiscal authorities round the world setting up task forces and study groups to decide what might be going on and essentially whether there was any risk of tax going missing as a result of online activities.
Most of those groups folded quite quickly when it became apparent that nothing of the sort was likely to happen and that on the whole existing tax regimes were able to cope: there was a general agreement of a rather vague sort that the physical presence of a server in a particular place was not enough to make the operator resident for tax purposes.
The reason for that was fairly clear and I was able to make some play about the wannabe tax haven that I can see from my windows, the self-styled Principality of Sealand, offering to host servers and claiming this would take your transactions beyond the range of fiscal authorities. Sealand is still there and its website offers a Facebook page and an online shop, but claims for tax haven status are distinctly muted these days.