1. Research
  2. About us
  3. Analysts
  4. Dieter Bräuninger

Taxing the digital economy: Good reasons for scepticism

May 21, 2019
Region:
Digital taxation is currently a subject of intense debate and since large digital companies are widely thought to pay inappropriately low taxes, policymakers remain under pressure to act. However, all approaches which are based on the taxation of revenues instead of profits have major flaws. As digital services expand into ever new areas of the economy (‘smart everything’), the risk of a far-reaching, arbitrary taxation of entrepreneurial activities is increasing. Disruption, the buzzword of the digitalisation discussions, may become an issue in international tax policy, too. In addition to an (international) digital tax, minimum taxes are one of the concepts under discussion. [more]

More documents from Dieter Bräuninger

55 (25-36)
August 28, 2017
Region:
25
Since 2010, the German government’s tax revenues have gone up by one third to EUR 706 bn. On the face of it, Germany is a low-tax country, with a tax-to-GDP rate of 22.9%. The picture is misleading, however, because the German welfare state is largely funded by additional taxes, i.e. social security contributions. The overall tax burden on German citizens is higher than the OECD average and the tax structure in Germany is unfavourable. It would appear to make sense to flatten out the steep trajectory of rising marginal income tax rates for people in the lower and mid-range earnings brackets. Germany’s political parties are pledging to reform income tax in order to appeal to median voters and their core support. Overall, the amount by which the burden on taxpayers would be eased varies substantially across the parties. [more]
August 8, 2017
Region:
26
Forecast for German Q2 GDP lifted to 0.8%. Strong private consumption boosts retail sales. Germany’s fiscal outlook: Goldilocks will not last forever. The view from Berlin: Asylum policy & refugee issues back on stage. [more]
July 17, 2017
Region:
27
The debate over welfare policy in Germany appears to be paradoxical. Albeit steadily rising social spending, some critics believe that there is a social imbalance. But social security continues to have a positive impact while the welfare system is benefiting from the positive economic development. A further expansion of the welfare state is in the cards given not only the demographic trend but also the parties’ proposals in the current election campaigns. Sustainability of the welfare system is playing second fiddle only despite the fact that already taxpayers are burdened with avoidable costs. [more]
July 7, 2017
Region:
28
The German economy is likely to have maintained its rapid growth rate in the second quarter. Consumer spending, in particular, has been stronger than expected thanks to the recent fall in oil prices and the continuing significant rise in employment levels. We have revised our GDP forecast for the whole year upwards to 1.6% (1.3%) which is equivalent to a calendar-adjusted rate of 2%. Considerable house price increases in 2017 and 2018 – and more significant wealth effects? The view from Berlin. Summertime and election campaigns. [more]
June 6, 2017
Region:
29
After Q1’s sturdy 0.6% qoq GDP growth, soft indicators do not signal any moderation of the growth momentum. Employment in 2017 so far, has been expanding at similar clip as in 2016, making our 1% consumption forecast for 2017 quite conservative. Exports have rebounded in the winter half – in line with global trade. The growth momentum of global trade seems to have peaked; therefore, we remain cautious, predicting 3.6% German export growth in 2017 after 2.7% last year. In combination with lingering geo-political uncertainty this will weigh on investment spending, where a utilization rate of 2pp above its long-term average suggests a still limited necessity to invest. Following Q1 GDP growth of 0.6% we have revised our 2017 GDP forecast to 1.3% (1.1%). Latest confidence surveys, however, hint at further upside potential and increasing risks of over-heating for 2018. Political observers in Germany have recently been focusing on the SPD’s ups and downs in the polls and the CDU’s reverse showing while smaller parties are fighting for public attention. From the present point of view (polls) a Jamaica coalition is the sole arithmetically feasible alternative to a renewed grand coalition after the September election. (Further topics: German industrial output – forecast for 2017; Corporate funding in Q1 – lending) [more]
May 19, 2017
Region:
30
Last Sunday the CDU won the important election in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), defeating the SPD in its major stronghold (33 vs 31.2%). The result indicates an end to the SPD’s upswing following the nomination of Schulz as Chancellor Merkel’s contender, and thus confirms our earlier cautious view on the likely sustainability of this development. [more]
May 5, 2017
31
Growth in global trade almost stagnated at just 1.3% in 2016, and in some months was even negative. During winter, global trade picked up again, rising by around 3% compared to the same period a year earlier. Given the positive sentiment prevailing across the globe, this rebound could well continue. However, this trend is not yet being fully reflected in other hard economic indicators, usually highly correlated with global trade, and sentiment may therefore overstate the actual trend a little. Still, our simple model of world trade, which suggests moderate growth of just over 2% in 2017 and around 3% in 2018 might represent the lower limit of the forecast range. However, compared to previous cycles the upturn could remain weak, not least because of the global trade restrictions that have been progressively ratcheted up since 2008. [more]
April 6, 2017
Region:
32
In international debate public investment is often regarded as a useful lever for promoting higher domestic demand. Despite international criticism and political declarations of intent, public investment in Germany has only increased moderately over the past two years and has remained average, at best, on an international scale. In the coming years, however, public investment is expected to grow significantly. The current investment plans for the federal budget are 40% higher than those adopted in 2013. Public contracts for the construction industry in 2016 were between 15 and 27% above the average of the previous 10 years. The excellent state of the public finances at the various government levels also supports the prospect of increasing investment growth. However, severe capacity shortages in the construction industry are likely to mean that the high demand for investment will not quickly lead to an increase in construction activity. (Further articles: German housing market, Corporate bond boom in Germany, Result of the Saarland election) [more]
March 16, 2017
Region:
33
Time to enhance (social) justice is the election campaign slogan of the SPD and its leadership candidate, Martin Schulz. To bring this slogan to life the chancellor candidate and the Federal Minister for Labour, Andrea Nahles, recently presented plans for specific labour market policy measures. The duo is proposing that the existing unemployment benefit be extended to include an additional component and that the eligibility criteria be relaxed. The idea of the new benefit Q (for qualification) is to grant registered recipients the right to participate in qualification programmes. It could double the benefit period – for younger jobseekers from one to two years and for those aged 58 and above from two to four years. [more]
March 9, 2017
Region:
34
At face value the pick-up of GDP growth at the end of 2016 (Q4: +0.4% qoq vs. +0.1% prev.) seems to fit with improving sentiment. However, given its composition we would argue that underlying growth was weaker than the headline suggests. We stick to our below consensus GDP forecast for 2017 (1.1%) and only make cosmetic changes in the details. We are raising our inflation forecast slightly overall for 2017, from 1.6% to 1.7%, compared with only 0.5% in 2016. We still expect core inflation to be only slightly above 1% in 2017. If the signs of global price increases are confirmed, then we could in fact see a more pronounced increase in core inflation, particularly if rising prices translate into second-round effects when wage negotiations are conducted in 2018. (Further articles: German industry, German election campaign) [more]
February 11, 2017
Region:
35
At a meeting in Munich, the executive committees of the CDU and the CSU have largely demonstrated unanimity and the willingness to close the ranks behind Chancellor Merkel in the imminent election campaign after months of tension over Merkel’s refugee policy. The meeting is meant as the start signal of a joint campaign which aims at keeping Chancellor Merkel in office and preventing a “left republic”, the term the CSU uses to describe a coalition among the SPD, the Left and the Greens. As an anchor for a common campaign a joint election platform shall be launched. The platform is likely to focus on external and internal security, (income) tax reductions, support for families, prosperity and jobs and European policy. The Bavarian CSU, however, will stick to its demand for an upper limit on migration of 200,000 p.a. as a major element of its own complementary platform for Bavaria, weakening the signal of unanimity at a time when the SPD is surging in polls. [more]
January 30, 2017
Region:
36
2016 GDP growth picked up further relative to the previous two years (1.9% vs. 1.7%). Growth was strongly tilted towards consumption thanks to several tailwinds (refugee crisis, low inflation, labour market strength), while slowing exports weighed on private equipment investment: With several tailwinds fading and a strong workday effect weighing, GDP growth looks set to slow to 1.1% in 2017. Recent sentiment indicators herald some upside risks for the current quarter. However, the 2.3 point drop in the expectations component of the January ifo index seems to corroborate our more cautious stance. In an unexpected turn, SPD party leader Gabriel announced that he would not run against Angela Merkel. Instead Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament, will be the party’s frontrunner. Mr. Schulz’s unexpected nomination is likely to push the SPD’s campaign for the federal election on September 24 but unlikely to derail Merkel. [more]
2.8.0