The European Commission (EC) has indicated that it plans to tax digital music, video and software sales downloaded from non-European websites.
A spokesman for the Commission said a proposal would be drawn up before the summer.
The EC said last year that it would prepare legislation to ensure music, software and other products downloaded by consumers from companies outside the union carried VAT. The Commission aims to give companies operating in Europe an equal opportunity to those outside it.
Some analysts, however, believe it would be difficult to enforce the tax. "The big issue is policing," said Adam Daum, an analyst at researcher the GartnerGroup. "If you download something from a US site, for example, there is no agreement in place to say where the tax is payable, and who can prove you downloaded it anyway?"
Critics also believe that such legislation could hobble the growth of the internet in Europe. "One of the key benefits of buying on the internet is price," said Daum. "Anything that increases the price of online goods takes some of the shine off ecommerce."
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