Platform economy: The government’s plan is a good place to start

-The new strategy for the sharing economy is a good step towards making platform companies report to tax authorities. But we’re not quite there yet. It should be mandatory – not voluntary – to pay taxes

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The platform economy

LO’s President, Lizette Risgaard has both favourable and critical comments for the government’s long awaited “Strategy for growth through the sharing economy”, which was launched this week.

According to the government, the new strategy for the sharing economy contains 22 initiatives that are to contribute to create more trust in the sharing economy, ensure correct payment of taxes, support job opportunities in the sharing economy and ensure that Denmark can keep up with the development in this field.

– We welcome the step towards making platform companies’ report automatically to the Danish Tax and Customs Administration (SKAT). But it’s vital that it’s not voluntary for platform workers to pay taxes. It must, of course, be a statutory requirement, says Lizette Risgaard.

Nothing to do with sharing                                                

She emphasizes that most platform companies have nothing to do with the sharing economy.

– The sharing economy is when you and I share a lawn mower and none of us profit from it. But many of the platform companies are established to turn a profit for their owners. Those are two different things. This is why I don’t use the term “sharing economy” in this context, says Lizette Risgaard.

Mobile payment can be a good tool                                                                                            

The government proposes to make it easier to report to SKAT by using the Danish mobile payment app “MobilePay”.

– I quite agree that it should be as easy and unbureaucratic as possible. But this is an area in which we need a statutory requirement and not a voluntary “swipe to the right to pay your taxes.”

Still no proposal on pay- and working conditions                                                                            

LO’s President Lizette Risgaard calls for more specific initiatives to ensure decent pay- and working conditions for platform workers.

– The strategy raises many questions when it comes to pay- and working conditions for the people who work for platforms. However, we would really like to contribute to finding solutions. We will gladly discuss this with the government and the employers.

– Some of the new Danish platform start-ups are moving in the right direction. However, the employers need to organise themselves in the employers’ organisations and we will do our part to organise the platform workers. The good news is that consumers tend to fully embrace the platforms once they ensure decent conditions for workers, says Lizette Risgaard, who looks forward to an invitation from the government for talks with the social partners on this issue.