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UK's Customs and Revenue Tackle E-Commerce Issues

Officials from H.M. Customs & Excise and the Inland Revenue met business organisations at the newly-formed Electronic Commerce Consultation Forum.

The framework agreed at the meeting Tuesday included a plan to "move the discussion forward," with government pledging that it would cooperate with business in formulating tax policy as it relates to e-commerce.

The scope of the Electronic Commerce Consultation Forum includes recognition that e-commerce is a global phenomenon that requires special consideration by tax bodies. Present at the meeting were UK business participants in the Technical Advisory Groups set up by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Last year, at the OECD's Ministerial conference in Ottawa on e-commerce, the UK tax and excise authories presented a policy paper that outlined the principles they were following in setting taxation and customs duty for e-commerce. They included "neutrality, certainty, effectiveness and efficiency."

The main group of the new forum expects to meet around three times per year, with sub-groups meeting on an ad hoc basis to discuss specific detailed tax, compliance and service delivery issues.