Japan seeking tax directly from app stores

Japan is looking for a way to collect consumption tax on the sales of smartphone apps distributed by overseas firms.

Companies including foreign firms that distribute apps through stores such as Apple and Google need to pay consumption tax to Japanese authorities when the apps are purchased by consumers in Japan.

But there have been many cases of overseas app makers failing to pay up, and investigations by the National Tax Agency have been difficult.

Japan's government is considering a new system in which app store operators pay the tax on behalf of app publishers.

Finance Ministry officials say the new system is similar to those used in most major countries.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry estimates Japan's smartphone app market will be worth 38 billion dollars next year.

The coalition government plans to include the system in a package of tax revisions for fiscal 2024 that will be compiled next month.