The Physical, Human-Driven Digital Economy: The Overvaluation of Intangibles and Its Effects on Tax and Society

Considering intangibles not simply as the output of a genius or artificial intelligence (AI) from the cloud but as the output of the triad of labour, data and resources, the authors argue against the perception of the digital economy as mainly driven by intangibles and instead focus on its implications for profit attribution and profit determination within transfer pricing. The potential negative impacts, such as inequalities and a monopoly-driven innovation blockade, resulting from a potential overvaluation emphasize the need for further research. The main implication for international tax law and the discussion for its nexus is that even for an AI you might require a physical presence in the form of labour, data and resources.