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Digital Economy, Tax Issues And Due Diligence



We’ve been in the “digital economy” for some time, yet it continues to evolve with new business activities and ways of living. And, we see “old economy” businesses, like Ford Motor, move more into the new economy.

I define the digital economy from the perspective of how people and businesses engage in it:

• Transacting business with virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin;

• Providing digital goods and services; and

• Transacting business enhanced by the Internet, such as finding customers, including working in the “sharing economy.”

There are numerous federal, state and local tax issues with these transactions usually due to the fact that existing tax rules were not written with these new ways of doing business in mind.

I’ve got an article in CCH’s Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure (May-June 2015) on “Taxation and Today’s Digital Economy,” with more details as to the issues.  It also includes a due diligence worksheet that hopefully tax practitioners will find useful.

What do you think? Any additional issues or due diligence tips?

Original Post By:  Annette Nellen

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Annette Nellen, CPA, Esq., is a professor in and director of San Jose State University’s graduate tax program (MST), teaching courses in tax research, accounting methods, property transactions, state taxation, employment tax, ethics, tax policy, tax reform, and high technology tax issues.

Annette is the immediate past chair of the AICPA Individual Taxation Technical Resource Panel and a current member of the Executive Committee of the Tax Section of the California Bar. Annette is a regular contributor to the AICPA Tax Insider and Corporate Taxation Insider e-newsletters. She is the author of BNA Portfolio #533, Amortization of Intangibles.

Annette has testified before the House Ways & Means Committee, Senate Finance Committee, California Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee, and tax reform commissions and committees on various aspects of federal and state tax reform.

Prior to joining SJSU, Annette was with Ernst & Young and the IRS.

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