How Tech Taxes Became the World’s Hottest Economic Debate

By Jim Tankersley

WASHINGTON — A growing movement by foreign governments to tax American tech giants that supply internet search, online shopping and social media to their citizens has quickly emerged as the largest global economic battle of 2020.

The fight pits traditional allies against each other, with European countries like France, Italy and Britain clashing with the United States over their plans to impose new taxes on digital services provided by companies like Amazon and Google.

At the core of the debate are fundamental questions about where economic activity in the digital age is generated, where it should be taxed and who should collect that revenue. The potential for large tax dollars has spurred governments across the world to consider new digital taxes and has even inspired lawmakers in some American states, like Maryland and New York, to propose their own levies on digital trade.

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