In the 2018 UK Budget, the UK Government announced the intended introduction of a Digital Services Tax “DST”. The 2020 UK Budget reconfirmed this intention and despite continued pressure from the US, the law to introduce this tax was included in the Finance Act 2020. Consequently, with effect from 1 April 2020 this new tax will apply.
Furthermore, despite the UK Government applying a raft of tax fiscal measures to combat the Covid-19 outbreak there has been no announcement of any delay to this tax.
The UK Government has calculated that DST could raise approximately £1.5bn over the four years following its introduction.
The DST tax rate of 2% will apply to revenues from a “digital services activity” derived from UK users by taxable persons.
Companies that carry on a “digital services activity” and provide those services to UK users where:
are taxable persons for the purposes of DST.
Digital services revenues are those revenues that arise in connection with a digital services activity.
In order to determine the figures above and, therefore, the liability to the UK DST, the thresholds must be calculated at a group level. The group consists of all entities that are included in the group consolidated accounts. Therefore, digital services revenue of all group entities counts towards the DST thresholds even where they do not have a UK taxable presence for corporation tax purposes.
The scope of UK DST is limited to revenues from the following “digital services activities”:
Digital services revenues will include all revenues earned by the group and connected with the above digital service activities regardless of how the business or group monetises the service.
Regulated financial and payments service providers are exempt from DST and DST is not accountable on the underlying value of the goods and services provided between users selling though an online marketplace.
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