A group of thirteen online-based companies in Japan are asking the government to impose sales taxes on ebooks and music download overseas websites to remove their advantage over the local companies. Currently, only the sellers within Japan and imported merchandise have sales tax while companies like Amazon.com Inc are exempted.
In a statement, the group, including Yahoo Japan, bookstore chain Kinokuniya Co. and online game software developer Dwango Co., said they are at a “disadvantage from the standpoint of price competitiveness” because of the overseas companies’ exemption. The ruling bloc of the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito has already been considering putting on sales taxes for international companies doing online distribution, but they have not yet made a final decision in the tax revision for fiscal 2013.
Last year, the government said that they will be implementing the planned consumption tax increase to 8% by April 2014, even on digital content from overseas companies. The Finance Ministry is studying how to implement the collection system, but it might require the online vendors to register with the Japanese government and comply with the new tax policies. However, whether or not the tax increase will be implemented is still unclear at this point, as there are fears that it will stifle the economic growth that Japan is experiencing right now, under the Abenomics policies. The government will be making a decision by September after the numbers for the second quarter are in.
[via Japan Times]