Jun 9, 2021

Will the G7 tax deal have benefits for Big Tech companies?

Technology
G7
Tax
bigtech
3 min
The G7 Finance ministers' new agreement will have implications on tech giants tax, but will they actually benefit from this deal?

The world’s biggest tech companies are facing a corporate tax avoidance crackdown after the G7 agreed to a historic deal.

On Saturday the G7 backed a US proposal that calls for corporations around the world to pay a minimum 15% tax on profits. The reforms would affect the world’s largest companies with profit margins of at least 10%.

The G7 nations intend for this move to stabilise the international tax system, increase trust and transparency, and even out the playing field. The proposal is aimed at different groups, but one being Big Tech companies, which often use their international reach, tax havens, and other loopholes to avoid paying taxes in their home countries or other major economies.

To try and recoup some of the dodged taxes from tech giants, some countries have introduced digital services taxes, including Britain, France, and Italy. Although, these were only meant as temporary solutions until international tax rules could be decided. 

Will the G7 tax deal have its benefits?

Many big companies have welcomed the change, a Google spokesperson told Reuters that “we strongly support the work being done to update international tax rules”.

Although large corporations might not be able to dodge taxes entirely once the G7 decision goes into effect, paying the 15% minimum tax still wouldn’t require tech giants to pay as much money as they would need to if they actually paid their fair share of taxes in their home countries.

The G7 deal could be seen as a better alternative, for many companies, rather than paying the taxes of their home countries. In the US, the federal income tax rate for corporations is 21%. Both the minimum 15% tax rate set by the G7 proposal and the 20% rate that would apply to companies with profit margins above 10% would be cheaper than having to pay 21%.

Not all tech giants would meet the profit margin threshold for the 20% rate. For example, Amazon’s profit margins in 2020 were only 6.3%, which is below 10%. 

An Amazon spokesperson says that the agreement 'marks a welcome step forward' in efforts to 'bring stability to the international tax system,'. 'We hope to see discussions continue to advance with the broader G20 and Inclusive Framework alliance.'

Another benefit of having a global tax agreement is that no competitor could beat you in terms of playing the system. There would also be no benefit to be gained from declaring profits in a country with minimal economic activity, so companies would no longer need to pay the expenses associated with dodging taxes.

Overall the G7 tax proposal not only aims to level out the playing field by establishing a minimum 15% corporate tax rate, but it also attempts to simplify an international tax system that is extremely complex. Although it may not solve all the tax avoidance issues, for now, it’s a step in the right direction.

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

AWS
NASCAR
3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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