Environmental Fiscal Challenges for Cities and Transport
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Environmental Fiscal Challenges for Cities and Transport

Edited by Marta Villar Ezcurra, Janet E. Milne, Hope Ashiabor and Mikael Skou Andersen

As populations become increasingly concentrated in urban centres and mega cities, while demands on transportation continue to grow, the question of how to mitigate the environmental footprint of these trends is ever more pressing. This comprehensive book demonstrates the potentially significant role of environmental taxation and other market-based instruments in meeting these challenges.
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Chapter 2: Is the low level of tax on e-commerce contributing to an environmentally unfriendly increase in transport?

Marta Villar Ezcurra

Abstract

Digital companies have an average effective tax rate which is half that of the traditional economy. In particular, the state of taxation of certain e-commerce activities – especially those relating to tangible goods – is a source of concern at the global level. The tax landscape is evolving very quickly towards a model in which digital business activities are taxed in a fair and growth-friendly way, assuming that the digital economy provides positive effects for the environment. Nevertheless, potential environmental adverse effects can be identified, such as the increase in long-distance freight transport. This chapter raises the question of whether environmentally unfriendly symptoms of transport caused by e-commerce are the natural result of, or at all influenced by, the current international tax framework, in which differences in tax treatment make it possible to assume significant transport costs. It also considers what kind of mitigation strategies should be implemented to improve the protection of the environment.

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