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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Friday that regulators have agreed to eliminate a controversial part of the U.S. government plan to reform global digital tax rules, clearing the way toward a quicker deal.

What's happening: Yellen told G20 finance ministers the U.S. would be dropping a "safe harbor" provision the Trump administration had been fighting for, which would have essentially allowed tech companies to opt out of any new tax regime, the FT reports.

Why it matters: It signals that Washington is ready to make progress on an international digital tax deal, something the Trump administration did not achieve.

Context: Countries around the world, including France, have been trying to establish digital taxes, which are usually aimed toward American tech giants that make money off of international users.

  • The effort has picked up steam in the U.S. as well — Maryland just became the first state to enact a tax on digital advertising.
  • The business and tech communities have been watching to see how the Biden administration would take up this issue. The process has been moving slowly and European countries have been anxious to push forward with their tariffs.

What they're saying: Tech companies want one global digital tax deal, arguing that they are happy to pay their fare share, but that it should be uniform.

  • "As the world economy seeks to recover from the global pandemic and governments face new fiscal pressures, an agreed solution is needed now more than ever to ensure a durable framework for cross-border trade and investment," Google vice president of government affairs and public policy Karan Bhatia wrote in a blog post Thursday.

What's next: Countries will continue trying to work out a deal at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, where negotiations have been taking place.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Feb 25, 2021 - Economy & Business

The digital dollar is now high priority for the Fed

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. is starting to get serious about a central-bank-backed digital currency, with recent comments from top officials laying out the strongest support yet.

Driving the news: On Tuesday Fed chair Jerome Powell told Congress that developing a digital dollar is a "high priority project for us," but added that there are "significant technical and policy questions."

Feb 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Manhattan prosecutors reportedly obtain millions of pages of Trump's tax records

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Manhattan district attorney is now in possession of millions of pages of former President Trump's tax and financial records, CNN first reported, following a Supreme Court ruling that allowed prosecutors to enforce a subpoena after a lengthy legal battle.

Why it matters: Trump fought for years to keep his tax returns out of the public eye and away from prosecutors in New York, who are examining his business in a criminal investigation that was first sparked by hush-money payments made by Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen during the 2016 election.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
5 seconds ago - Science

China makes history with successful Mars landing

A model of the Tianwen-1 Mars rover is displayed during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.