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The tax authorities in these countries have attempted to counteract these incentives by establishing a special regime of “closely-held corporate business”, with total business income split into labour and capital components according to a complex set of rules in order to capture labour income. However, loopholes prove difficult to close, the more so since pressure groups have successfully lobbied for exemptions. As noted above, countries maintaining a dual income tax system should limit the incentives to incorporate by diminishing the difference in statutory and effective tax rates on capital and labour income of self employed, especially at the upper end of the pay schedule.

This orientation of future reform efforts should be particularly beneficial to countries that have been grappling with a lack of confidence of taxpayers in their tax officials, such as Mexico, Korea, Greece and the transition economies. g. Italy reported below). Another measure that is susceptible to reducing compliance costs is the reduction of overlaps between layers of government – especially in countries where federal and local levels share certain tax bases but apply different tax structures and collection procedures (see above).

It is important that taxation rules continue to apply fairly and consistently, and with predicable outcomes internationally, so as to safeguard neutrality and ensure fair competition. 12 These Framework Conditions have been internationally accepted as the foundation for debate on these issues. They point, in short, to the application of existing taxation principles and norms to e-commerce, albeit with some clarification and development of those norms in selected areas. Significant progress has already been made toward building the necessary international consensus to ensure that the Framework Conditions’ principles can be applied appropriately, so providing e-commerce with a sound and certain fiscal environment in which to flourish.

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