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So what do Tax and the Christmas Season have in common?

OK so I’m lying on the couch getting over a spot of flu and taking in a YouTube recording of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on my iPhone.

Before we’re a decent time into the 2½ hour long recording I get interrupted by an ‘online ad’. I can skip it, so not a major downer on my musical experience.

A while later, another ad, this time non-skippable, pops up.

I sit it out.

They don’t come in any recognizable pattern so when the next one comes I’m still unprepared and now the iPhone has slipped between the cushions so I can’t skip it even if it allowed me to do so.

Now my point is this.

The ads are what they call ‘targeted’ so are supposed to align with my surfing preferences. Well I don’t happen to be looking for a new job or an espresso machine right at the moment, nor have I been in the previous couple of years as far as I recall, so either they got the wrong target or their AI is not as intelligent as people make out (or both).

So rather than promoting the products and their respective brands (and maybe even selling something) all they achieve is the complete reverse.

It just so happens that I’ve just finished an 11,000 word article on the public responses to the OECD’s plans for shifting some multinationals’ taxable profits to countries where their ‘users’ are based. Users, for these purposes, are supposed to include me as the recipient of such ‘targeted’ ads.


Because they/I are assumed to ‘add value’ to the business. This leads me to the thought that maybe what they should be doing to reflect cases like mine (tell me I am not alone!) rather than taxing them, is getting those countries to pay money to the companies concerned for the damage this does to their brands?

Right? Any other ideas?

Article to appear in Tax Notes International early in the New Year. Meanwhile, happy listening😊

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