International Financial Law Prof Blog

Editor: William Byrnes
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Saturday, February 10, 2018

OECD announces further developments in BEPS implementation

The Inclusive Framework on BEPS has released additional guidance to give certainty to tax administrations and MNE Groups alike on the implementation of Country-by-Country (CbC) reporting (BEPS Action 13). The Inclusive Framework also approved updates to the results for preferential regime reviews conducted by the Forum on Harmful Tax Practices (FHTP) in connection with BEPS Action 5.

Further guidance on Country-by-Country reporting

The additional guidance addresses two specific issues: the definition of total consolidated group revenue and whether non-compliance with the confidentiality, appropriate use and consistency conditions constitutes systemic failure. The complete set of guidance related to CbC reporting issued so far is presented in the document released today. Also released today is a compilation of the approaches adopted by member jurisdictions of the Inclusive Framework with respect to issues where the guidance allows for alternative approaches. These documents will continue to be updated with any further guidance that may be agreed.

Updated conclusions on preferential tax regimes

Members of the Inclusive Framework are continuing to make progress in delivering the international standard on BEPS Action 5. Two Barbados' regimes, the International financial services and the Credit for foreign currency earnings/Credit for overseas projects or services, were concluded as "potentially harmful" by the Inclusive Framework in the 2017 Progress Report on Preferential Regimes. In a ministerial letter Barbados committed to amend these regimes within the FHTP's agreed timelines and in accordance with the criteria of the FHTP. The Inclusive Framework therefore agreed to update the conclusions for these two regimes to "in the process of being amended". 

Canada's regime for international banking centres (IBCs) was determined to be "potentially but not actually harmful" by the FHTP in the 2004 Progress Report. Canada has abolished the IBC regime, with limited grandfathering which is consistent with the FHTP guidance and therefore the conclusion for this regime is updated to "abolished". 

An updated table of regime results is now available. The OECD will continue to communicate updated results of reviews of preferential regimes as approved by the Inclusive Framework.

February 10, 2018 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

BEPS Action 13: Jurisdictions implement final regulations for first filings of CbC Reports, with over 1400 bilateral relationships now in place for the automatic exchange of CbC information

a further important step was taken to implement Country-by-Country (CbC) Reporting in accordance with the BEPS Action 13 minimum standard, through activations of automatic exchange relationships under the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Exchange of CbC Reports ("the CbC MCAA").

The automatic exchange of Country-by-Country Reports which is set to start in June 2018 will give tax administrations around the world access to key information on the annual income and profits, as well as the capital, employees and activities of Multinational Enterprise Groups that are active within their jurisdictions. With more than six months before the first exchange deadline, there are now over 1400 automatic exchange relationships in place among jurisdictions committed to exchanging CbC Reports as of mid-2018, including those under EU Council Directive 2016/881/EU and bilateral competent authority agreements (including 31 with the United States).

The full list of automatic exchange relationships that are now in place is available on the OECD website, together with an update on the implementation of the domestic legal framework for CbC Reporting in jurisdictions; on jurisdictions that do not require CbC reporting for 2016 but will permit voluntary parent surrogate filing; and on steps that have been taken by jurisdictions to address a transitional issue for the first year of CbC reporting.

This additional wave of activations of CbC Reporting exchange relationships is another important step towards the timely implementation of Country-by-Country Reporting and reflects the commitment of BEPS Inclusive Framework members from all corners of the world to the fight against base erosion and profit shifting.

February 4, 2018 in BEPS, OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Further progress made in implementation of BEPS measures against tax treaty abuse

On 15 December 2017, Jersey deposited its instrument of ratification for the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting ("multilateral convention") with the OECD. Subsequently, on 20 December 2017, Curaçao has joined the multilateral convention, following a communication from the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the OECD.[1] A provisional list of reservations and notifications for Curaçao has been provided and a definitive version will be deposited with the OECD at the time of the deposit of the instrument of ratification of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

This underlines the strong commitment of Jersey and Curaçao to international tax standards to prevent the abuse of tax treaties and base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) by multinational enterprises.

The multilateral convention offers concrete solutions for governments to close the gaps in existing international tax rules by transposing results from the OECD/G20 BEPS Project into bilateral tax treaties worldwide. The multilateral convention modifies the application of thousands of bilateral tax treaties concluded to eliminate double taxation. Tax treaty-related measures that may be implemented through the multilateral convention include those on hybrid mismatch arrangementstreaty abusepermanent establishment, and mutual agreement procedures, including agreed minimum standards to counter treaty abuse and to improve dispute resolution and an optional provision on mandatory binding arbitration.

"As the third jurisdiction after Austria and the Isle of Man to ratify the multilateral convention following the signing ceremony in June 2017, Jersey is a forerunner in the implementation of the far-reaching reforms agreed under the BEPS Project” said Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration. “I also welcome Curaçao as the 72nd jurisdiction covered by the convention and look forward to other jurisdictions following suit so that the benefits of the convention can take effect and improve the international tax system for the benefit of all our citizens".

Now covering 72 jurisdictions and over 1,100 treaties, the Convention is expected to be signed by additional governments in the near future. 

The multilateral convention was adopted by an ad hoc Group of over 100 jurisdictions working on an equal footing on 24 November 2016 and already covers 72 jurisdictions. The Republic of Austria became the first jurisdiction to deposit its instrument of ratification for the multilateral convention on 22 September 2017, the Isle of Man, the second, on 19 October 2017, and Jersey the third on 15 December 2017. The multilateral convention will enter into force three calendar months after the date of deposit of the fifth instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval.

The OECD is the depositary of the multilateral convention and is supporting governments in the process of signature, ratification and implementation. The position of each party and signatory under the multilateral convention is available on the OECD website.

February 3, 2018 in BEPS, OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 22, 2017

OECD releases first peer reviews of the BEPS Action 5 minimum standard on spontaneous exchange on tax rulings

As part of continuing efforts to improve tax transparency and the international tax framework, the OECD has released the first analysis of individual countries' progress OECD APA Sharing Reportsin spontaneously exchanging information on tax rulings in accordance with Action 5 of the BEPS package of measures released in October 2015.

The first annual report on the exchange of information on rulings evaluates how 44 countries, including all OECD members and all G20 countries, are implementing one of the four new minimum standards agreed in the OECD/G20 BEPS Project.

A key aim of the project was to increase transparency, which resulted in a new minimum standard to ensure that information on certain tax rulings is exchanged between relevant tax administrations in a timely manner (Action 5). This minimum standard requires tax administrations to spontaneously exchange information on rulings that have been granted to a foreign related party of their resident taxpayer or a permanent establishment which, in the absence of exchange, could give rise to BEPS concerns. As a minimum standard, all members of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS have committed to implement this standard, and to have their compliance with the standard reviewed and monitored by their peers.

The standard covers rulings such as advance pricing agreements (APAs), permanent establishment rulings, related party conduit rulings, and rulings on preferential regimes. More than 10 000 relevant rulings were identified up to the end of 2016.

The annual report includes almost 50 country-specific recommendations on issues such as improving the timeliness of the exchange of information, ensuring that all relevant information on the taxpayer’s related parties is captured for exchange purposes, and ensuring that exchanges of information are made with respect to preferential tax regimes that apply to income from intellectual property.

The next annual peer review will cover all members of the Inclusive Framework, except for the developing countries that requested a deferral of their review to 2019.

December 22, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Bahamas and Zambia join the Inclusive Framework on BEPS, 110 Countries Will Impose Anti-Avoidance Regime

The Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) welcomed The Bahamas and Zambia as its newest members, bringing to 110 the total number of countries and jurisdictions participating on an equal footing in the project. Members of the Inclusive Framework have the opportunity to work together with other OECD and G20 countries on implementing the BEPS package consistently and on developing further standards to address remaining BEPS issues.

December 20, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 18, 2017

OECD releases second round of peer reviews on implementation of BEPS minimum standards on improving tax dispute resolution mechanisms

As part of continuing efforts to improve the international tax framework and tax certainty, the OECD has released the second round of analyses of individual country efforts to improve dispute resolution mechanisms. These seven peer review reports represent the second round of stage 1 evaluations of how countries are implementing new minimum standards agreed in the OECD/G20 BEPS Project.

The reports relate to implementation by AustriaFrance (also available in French)GermanyItalyLiechtensteinLuxembourg (also available in French) and Sweden. A document addressing the implementation of best practices is also available on each jurisdiction that opted to have such best practices assessed. These seven reports include over 170 recommendations relating to the minimum standard. In stage 2 of the peer review process, each jurisdiction’s efforts to address any shortcomings identified in its stage 1 peer review report will be monitored.

These stage 1 peer review reports continue to represent an important step forward to turn the political commitments made by members of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS into measureable, tangible progress. The seven jurisdictions concerned are already working to address most deficiencies identified in their respective reports. The OECD will continue to publish stage 1 peer review reports in accordance with the Action 14 peer review assessment schedule.

December 18, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Questions and Answers on the EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

Questions and Answers on the EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

Why has the EU produced a list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions?

The new list is part of the EU's work to clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance. It will help the EU to deal more robustly with external threats to Member States' tax bases and to tackle third countries that consistently refuse to play fair on tax matters.

Up to now, Member States have had a patchwork approach to dealing with tax havens, which has had limited impact. In its External Strategy for Effective Taxation, the Commission EU Commissionsuggested that a common EU list could be a more effective way of tackling countries that encourage abusive tax practices. Member States agreed that a single EU list would hold much more weight than a medley of national lists and would have an important dissuasive effect on problematic third countries.

The EU listing process also prompts change. It creates a positive incentive for international partners to improve their tax systems where there are weaknesses in their transparency and fair tax standards. Throughout the EU listing process, many countries engaged with Member States to address the deficiencies found in their tax systems.

Finally, the common EU list will also create a clearer and fairer environment for businesses and third countries. Divergent national approaches, with different 'triggers' and criteria for listing, send mixed messages to international partners regarding the EU's good governance expectations. A single EU listing process, based on clear criteria and an open dialogue process is much easier for international partners to understand and engage with.

Why weren't EU Member States assessed for this list?

The EU list is a tool to deal with external threats to Member States' tax bases. It is also a means to promote more dialogue and cooperation with international partners on tax issues.

Within the EU, different tools are used to ensure fair and transparent taxation. For example, Member States are bound by far-reaching new transparency rules and anti-avoidance measures, thanks to the ambitious EU agenda against tax abuse. The EU also leads by example when it comes to implementing the OECD BEPS measures and international transparency standards, which are now enshrined in EU hard law.

Member States' laws have been put in conformity with these global standards over the past three years, through several pieces of legislation agreed at EU level. Thanks to these changes, the EU is now is the lead when it comes to tax standards

Besides, Member States tax regimes are also subject to a high degree of scrutiny within the EU, and are challenged if they are considered to be unfair. The Code of Conduct for Business Taxation sets out principles for fair tax competition, which all Member States abide by. The Commission has also launched state aid investigations when it suspected that Member States gave unfair tax advantages to certain companies. The European Semester process is another tool to address national tax schemes which may not be up to scratch when it comes to fair and transparent taxation. It should be noted that, when assessed against the EU list criteria, all Member States are fully compliant. 

How was the list compiled?

In May 2016, EU Finance Ministers endorsed the new listing process set out in the External Strategy, and subsequently agreed on common criteria to assess selected countries. They asked the Code of Conduct Group, the body comprising of Member State taxation experts in the Council, to manage the process and to present a first EU list by the end of 2017.

The list was compiled through a three-step process:

1: Pre-Selection: In September 2016, the Commission pre-assessed 213 countries using over 1600 different indicators. These indicators help to classify countries according to their economic ties with the EU, financial activity, legal and institutional stability, and tax good governance levels. This data was compiled in a Scoreboard, and helped Member States to decide which countries should be examined in greater detail. On the basis of the Scoreboard, Member States decided which countries to screen in more depth.

2: Screening: All jurisdictions chosen for screening were formally contacted, to explain the process and invite them to engage with the EU. Member State experts then assessed the selected jurisdictions' tax systems in-depth, using the agreed criteria. There were many contacts with the jurisdictions during the screening stage, to seek clarification, information and explanations from both sides.

3: Listing: Once the experts had finished the screening stage, they delivered their findings to the Code of Conduct Group. On that basis, a letter was sent to each jurisdiction, either confirming that they complied with the criteria, or highlighting deficiencies in their tax systems. Jurisdictions were asked to make high level commitments to address identified deficiencies within a set time period. Those that did not do so were put forward for listing.

The Code of Conduct Group drafted the first EU list, and submitted it to EU Finance Ministers to endorse at their monthly meeting. Member States also took note of the commitments made by various jurisdictions, and agreed on a general approach to sanctions for the listed countries.

SELECTING

Commission reviews third countries' risk levels

September 2016

SELECTING

Member States agree criteria for screening

November 2016

SCREENING

Member States assess third countries' tax systems and start dialogue

January – December 2017

LISTING

Member States list countries that did not commit to addressing identified problems

5 December 2017

MONITORING

Continuous review of all jurisdictions. EU listupdated at least once a year.

Annually

                                                OVERVIEW OF THE SCREENING PROCESS

                                                  213  pre-assessed for the Scoreboard

                                                              92 chosen for screening

20 given all-clear

72 asked to address deficiencies

47 committed to:

Improve transparency

Stop harmful tax practices

Introduce substance requirements

Implement OECD BEPS

Hurricane Countries have more time

                                                                           17 on EU List

 

What criteria were used in the EU listing process to assess countries?

The EU listing criteria are in line with international standards and reflect the good governance standards that Member States comply with themselves. These are: 

  • Transparency:The country should comply with international standards on automatic exchange of information and information exchange on request. It should also have ratified the OECD's multilateral convention or signed bilateral agreements with all Member States, to facilitate this information exchange. Until June 2019, the EU only requires two out of three of the transparency criteria. After that, countries will have to meet all three transparency requirements to avoid being listed.   

  • Fair Tax Competition: The country should not have harmful tax regimes, which go against the principles of the EU's Code of Conduct or OECD's Forum on Harmful Tax Practices. Those that choose to have no or zero-rate corporate taxation should ensure that this does not encourage artificial offshore structures without real economic activity. 

  • BEPS implementation:The country must have committed to implement the OECD's Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) minimum standards. 

Who was responsible for screening the selected jurisdictions?

The process was led by Member States. They nominated national tax experts to screen the tax systems of the selected third countries. These experts were grouped into panels, which examined the jurisdictions against the agreed criteria. The expert panels were given guidance from the Code of Conduct Group and technical support from the Commission.

Did the screened countries have a chance to present their case?

Yes. Since the very beginning of the exercise, the Commission stressed that the EU listing process must be as fair, transparent and open as possible. At each subsequent stage, high priority was given to ensuring that the relevant countries understood the process and could respond. Many bilateral and multilateral meetings were held to this end, and there was extensive correspondence between Member States and the jurisdictions concerned.

The jurisdictions were sent a formal letter when they were selected for screening in January 2017. At the end of the screening process, they received another letter, either confirming that they were compliant or asking them to make specific improvements to their tax systems. At every stage, the jurisdictions were encouraged to engage with the EU, provide any relevant information and seek any clarifications they needed. Each country had a chance to present their position, address concerns and discuss how to deepen their cooperation with the EU on tax matters. 

Why didn't Member States list every country that failed to meet the criteria?

The EU list was always intended as a last resort option – when all other efforts to engage with a third country had failed. Jurisdictions that were prepared to cooperate were not listed, so long as they gave a clear and concrete commitment to address the identified tax deficiencies.

For certain jurisdictions, specific factors needed to be taken into account. For example, 8 jurisdictions (Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos, US Virgin Islands) that were badly hit by the hurricanes in summer 2017 have been given until early 2018 to respond to the EU's concerns. Special consideration was also given to the situation of developing countries. Least Developed Countries without financial centres were automatically excluded from the screening process, while other developing countries without financial centres were given more time to address their shortcomings. 

What positive changes can already be seen as a result of the EU listing process?

A key benefit of the EU listing process is that it re-launched discussions on tax good governance and prompted countries to improve their tax systems, in line with international standards. Many jurisdictions cooperated closely with the EU during the listing process and made firm commitments to fix problems identified in their tax systems. Many others actually improved their standards immediately, in response to the EU listing exercise. 

What is the breakdown of the commitments made by jurisdictions to improve their taxation standards?  

In total 47 countries committed to improving their transparency standards. Once fulfilled, these commitments should enhance the tax good governance environment, globally. Work must now continue to review the situation throughout 2018. 

What type of commitments did countries make in response to the EU listing process?  

Member States agreed not to list jurisdictions if they committed to address the deficiencies that were found during the screening process. These commitments had to be made at high political level (e.g. Minister of Finance), and give a clear domestic timeline for implementing the changes. The commitments related to the good governance criteria used in the listing process. 

Improve Transparency Standards

Armenia; Bosnia & Herzegovina; Botswana
Cape Verde; Hong Kong SAR; Curaçao; Fiji; Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Jamaica; Georgia; Maldives; Montenegro
Morocco; New Caledonia; Oman; Peru; Qatar; Serbia; Swaziland; Taiwan; Thailand; Turkey; Viet Nam.

Improve Fair Taxation

Andorra; Armenia; Aruba; Belize; Botswana; Cape Verde; Cook Islands; Curaçao; Fiji; Hong Kong SAR; Jordan; Labuan Island; Liechtenstein;  Malaysia; Maldives; Mauritius; Morocco; Niue; St Vincent & Grenadines; San Marino; Seychelles; Switzerland; Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey;  Uruguay; Viet Nam.

Introduce substance requirements

Bermuda; Cayman Islands; Guernsey; Isle of Man; Jersey; Vanuatu.

Commit to apply OECD BEPS measures

Albania; Armenia; Aruba; Bosnia & Herzegovina; Cape Verde; Cook Islands; Faroe Islands; Fiji; Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Greenland; Jordan; Maldives; Montenegro; Morocco; Nauru; New Caledonia; Niue; Saint Vincent & Grenadines; Serbia; Swaziland; Taiwan; Vanuatu.

Why did the EU not exclude developing countries from the EU listing process?

The specific situation of developing countries was taken fully into account throughout the EU listing process. The Commission excluded 48 Least Developed Countries from the pre-assessment, in recognition of the particular constraints they face. In addition, developing countries without financial centres have been given an extra year to meet the expected standards, when deficiencies were found in their tax systems with respect to transparency and BEPS implementation.

The Commission is very sensitive to the challenges that developing countries face in the area of taxation. The External Strategy has a whole section on supporting developing countries in fighting tax abuse and collecting domestic revenues, which builds on the Commission's “Collect More, Spend Better” strategy. This delivers on the EU's commitments under the Addis Tax Initiative, such as increased support to low income countries in improving their revenue raising capacities. The Commission and Member States have also started to examine possible effects of EU and national tax policies on developing countries, to prevent negative spill-overs and ensure greater policy coherence. 

What sanctions will apply to listed countries?

The EU list should have a real impact on the countries concerned, thanks to new EU legislative measures.

First, following Commission proposals the EU list is now linked to EU funding in the context of the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) and the External Lending Mandate (ELM). Funds from these instruments cannot be channelled through entities in listed countries. Only direct investment in these countries (i.e. funding for projects on the ground) will be allowed, to preserve development and sustainability objectives.

Second, the Commission has made reference to the list in other relevant legislative proposals. For example, the public Country-by-Country reporting proposal includes stricter reporting requirements for multinationals with activities in listed jurisdictions. In the proposed transparency requirements for intermediaries, a tax scheme routed through an EU listed country will be automatically reportable to tax authorities. The Commission is also examining legislation in other policy areas, to see where further consequences for listed countries can be introduced.

In addition to the EU provisions, the Commission encouraged Member States to agree on coordinated sanctions to apply at national level against the listed jurisdictions. First steps have been taken in this direction. Member States have agreed on a set of countermeasures which they can choose to apply against the listed countries. These include measures such as increased monitoring and audits, withholding taxes, special documentation requirements and anti-abuse provisions. The Commission will support Member States' work to develop a more binding and definitive approach to sanctions for the EU list in 2018. 

Will the list be updated?  

Yes. The list will be updated at least once a year. This update will be based on the continuous monitoring of listed jurisdictions, as well as those that have made commitments to improve their tax systems. Depending on developments, Member States may also decide to screen even more countries in 2018. An interim report will be prepared by mid-2018 to assess progress made. 

From June 2019, more stringent transparency criteria come into effect, which will require a re-assessment of all jurisdictions to ensure that they are in line. The EU listing criteria will also be updated in the future, to reflect new elements that Member States agreed upon, such as transparency on beneficial ownership, as well as possible evolutions at international level. 

How can a country be de-listed by the EU? 

A country will be removed from the list once it has addressed the issues of concern for the EU and has brought its tax system fully into line with the required good governance criteria. The Code of Conduct will be responsible for updating the EU list, and recommending countries for de-listing to the Council. 

Is the EU list in line with the international agenda for tax good governance?

Yes, the EU list firmly supports the international tax good governance agenda. The EU listing criteria reflect internationally agreed standards and countries were encouraged to meet these standards to avoid being listed. The EU also took on board OECD assessments of countries' transparency standards and tax regimes, as part of the screening process. The Commission and Member States were in close and regular contact with the OECD throughout the listing process, to ensure that EU and international work in this area remained complementary and mutually reinforcing.

How is the EU list different from the list published by the OECD in July?

The OECD list focussed on countries that failed to meet international transparency standards, as requested by the G20. The EU list is based on a wider set of good governance criteria. In addition to transparency, it also covers fair taxation, adherence to BEPS standards, and the level of taxation, where this might encourage artificial structures and arrangements. As such, there was a wider scope to the EU listing process. This is in line with the broad spectrum of tax good governance standards that EU Member States themselves adhere to.

How does the new EU list compare to the "pan-EU list" published in 2015?

The new EU list is a fully coordinated EU project. It was conceived, developed and managed at EU level. The criteria and process were agreed by EU Finance Ministers at the ECOFIN Council, and Member States worked together to screen selected countries and to decide which ones to list. The final EU list was unanimously endorsed by Member States in Council.

The "pan-EU" list was simply a compilation of Member States' individual lists. The Commission published this consolidated version of national lists in June 2015, as a first step towards a more coordinated EU approach. The "pan-EU" list highlighted how diverse Member States' lists were, and the confusion this created for businesses and international partners. Many countries welcomed the idea of a single EU listing process, which would be clearer and easier to work with than a patchwork of different lists.

What is the difference between this list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions and the EU anti-money laundering list?

The anti-money laundering (AML) list is focussed on countries with poor anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regimes. It reflects the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) approach to dealing with countries that have not implemented internationally agreed anti-money laundering standards. Banks must apply higher due diligence controls to financial flows towards these listed countries.

The EU tax list targets external risks posed by countries that refuse to respect tax good governance standards. It has different objectives, different criteria, a different compilation process and different consequences to the AML list. Nonetheless, the two lists will complement each other in ensuring double protection for the Single Market against external good governance risks.

December 6, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

EU publishes list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

The first ever EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions has been agreed today by the Finance Ministers of EU Member States during their meeting in Brussels.

In total, ministers have listed 17 countries for failing to meet agreed tax good governance standards. In addition, 47 countries have committed to addressing deficiencies in their tax EU Commissionsystems and to meet the required criteria, following contacts with the EU.   Download 17 countries

Download Eu_list_factsheet_en

This unprecedented exercise should raise the level of tax good governance globally and help prevent the large-scale tax abuse exposed in recent scandals such as the "Paradise Papers".

Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: "The adoption of the first ever EU blacklist of tax havens marks a key victory for transparency and fairness. But the process does not stop here. We must intensify the pressure on listed countries to change their ways. Blacklisted jurisdictions must face consequences in the form of dissuasive sanctions, while those that have made commitments must follow up on them quickly and credibly. There must be no naivety: promises must be turned into actions. No one must get a free pass."

The idea of an EU list was originally conceived by the Commission and subsequently taken forward by Member States. Compilation of the list has prompted active engagement from many of the EU's international partners. However, work must now continue as 47 more countries should meet EU criteria by the end of 2018, or 2019 for developing countries without financial centres, to avoid being listed. The Commission also expects Member States to continue towards strong and dissuasive countermeasures for listed jurisdictions which can complement the existing EU-level defensive measures related to funding.

Next Steps

The EU listing process is a dynamic one, which will continue into 2018:

  • As a first step, a letter will be sent to all jurisdictions on the EU list, explaining the decision and what they can do to be de-listed.
  • The Commission and Member States (in the Code of Conduct Group) will continue to monitor all jurisdictions closely, to ensure that commitments are fulfilled and to determine whether any other countries should be listed in the future. A first interim progress report should be published by mid-2018. The EU list will be updated at least once a year.

December 5, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Senate Tax Bill Posted: 10% Additional Withholding on BEPS Payments, Increase to 12.5% After 2025

The Senate Finance Committee has posted its 515 pages of new Internal Revenue Code language for a vote within 10 days.  Relevant text passages for Senate Commt Finance base erosion and profit shifting are excerpted below.  Download Senate Version Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 

SEC. 951A. GLOBAL INTANGIBLE LOW-TAXED INCOME INCLUDED IN GROSS INCOME OF UNITED STATES SHAREHOLDERS.

Description of Text by Senate Finance Committee
Under the proposal, a U.S. shareholder of any CFC must include in gross income for a taxable year its global intangible low-taxed income (“GILTI”) in a manner generally similar to inclusions of subpart F income. GILTI means, with respect to any U.S. shareholder for the shareholder’s taxable year, the excess (if any) of the shareholder’s net CFC tested income over the shareholder’s net deemed tangible income return. The shareholder’s net deemed tangible income return is an amount equal to 10 percent of the aggregate of the shareholder’s pro rata share of the qualified business asset investment (“QBAI”) of each CFC with respect to which it is a U.S. shareholder.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Each person who is a United States shareholder of any controlled foreign corporation for any taxable year of such United States shareholder shall include in gross income such shareholder’s global intangible low-taxed income for such taxable year.

(b) GLOBAL INTANGIBLE LOW-TAXED INCOME.

(1) IN GENERAL. The term ‘global intangible low-taxed income’ means, with respect to any United States shareholder for any taxable year of such United States shareholder, the excess (if any) of -

(A) such shareholder’s net CFC tested income for such taxable year, over

(B) such shareholder’s net deemed tangible income return for such taxable year.

(2) NET DEEMED TANGIBLE INCOME RETURN.

The term ‘net deemed tangible income return’ means, with respect to any United States shareholder for any taxable year, an amount equal to 10 percent of the aggregate of such shareholder’s pro rata share of the qualified business asset investment of each controlled foreign corporation with respect to which such shareholder is a United States shareholder for such taxable year (determined for each taxable year of each such controlled foreign corporation which ends in or with such taxable year of such United States shareholder).

(c) NET CFC TESTED INCOME.

(1) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘net CFC tested income’ means, with respect to any United States shareholder for any taxable year of such United States shareholder, the excess (if any) of—

(A) the aggregate of such shareholder’s pro rata share of the tested income of each controlled foreign corporation with respect to which such shareholder is a United States shareholder or such taxable year of  such United States shareholder (determined for each taxable year of such controlled foreign corporation which ends in or with such taxable year of such United States shareholder), over

(B) the aggregate of such shareholder’s pro rata share of the tested loss of each controlled foreign corporation with respect to which such shareholder is a United States shareholder for such taxable year of such United States shareholder (determined for each taxable year of such controlled foreign corporation which ends in or with such taxable year of such United States shareholder).

(d) QUALIFIED BUSINESS ASSET INVESTMENT.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘qualified business asset investment’ means, with respect to any corporation for any taxable year of such controlled foreign corporation, the average of the aggregate of

the corporation’s adjusted bases as of the close of each quarter of such taxable year in specified tangible property —

(A) used in a trade or business of the corporation, and‘

(B) of a type with respect to which a deduction is allowable under section 167.

(2) SPECIFIED TANGIBLE PROPERTY.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘specified tangible property’ means, except as provided in subparagraph (B), any tangible property used in the production of tested income.

(B) DUAL USE PROPERTY. In the case of property used both in the production of tested income and income which is not tested income, such property shall be treated as specified tangible property in the same proportion that the gross income described in subsection (c)(1)(A) produced with respect to such property bears to the total gross income produced with respect to such property.

SEC. 250. FOREIGN-DERIVED INTANGIBLE INCOME AND GLOBAL INTANGIBLE LOW-TAXED INCOME.

Senate Finance Committee Explanation of Text
In the case of a domestic corporation for its taxable year, the proposal allows a deduction equal to 37.5 percent of the lesser of (1) the sum of its  foreign-derived intangible income plus the amount of GILTI that is included in its gross income, or (2) its taxable income, determined without regard to this proposal. The foreign-derived intangible income of any domestic corporation is the amount which bears the same ratio to the corporation’s deemed intangible income as its foreign-derived deduction eligible income bears to its deduction eligible income. 

(a) ALLOWANCE OF DEDUCTION.

(1) IN GENERAL.—In the case of a domestic corporation for any taxable year, there shall be allowed as a deduction an amount equal to the sum of—

(A) 37.5 percent of the foreign-derived intangible income of such domestic corporation for such taxable year, plus

(B) 50 percent of the global intangible low-taxed income amount (if any) which is included in the gross income of such domestic corporation under section 951A for such taxable year.

(b) FOREIGN-DERIVED INTANGIBLE INCOME.

(1) IN GENERAL.—The foreign-derived intangible income of any domestic corporation is the amount which bears the same ratio to the deemed intangible income of such corporation as—

(A) the foreign-derived deduction eligible income of such corporation, bears to

(B) the deduction eligible income of such corporation.

(2) DEEMED INTANGIBLE INCOME.

(A) IN GENERAL.The term ‘deemed intangible income’ means the excess (if any) of—

(i) the deduction eligible income of the domestic corporation, over

(ii) the deemed tangible income return of the corporation.

(B) DEEMED TANGIBLE INCOME RETURN. The term ‘deemed tangible income return’ means, with respect to any corporation, an amount equal to 10 percent of the corporation’s qualified business asset investment (as defined in section 951A(d), determined by substituting ‘deduction eligible income’ for ‘tested income’ in paragraph (2) thereof).

(C) SPECIAL RULES WITH RESPECT TO RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS.

(i) SALES TO RELATED PARTIES.—If property is sold to a related party who is not a United States person, such sale shall not be treated as for a foreign use unless such property is sold by the related party to another person who is an unrelated party who is not a United States person and the taxpayer establishes  the satisfaction of the Secretary that such property is for a foreign use.

SEC. 14222. LIMITATIONS ON INCOME SHIFTING THROUGH INTANGIBLE PROPERTY TRANSFERS.

(a) DEFINITION OF INTANGIBLE ASSET. Section 936(h)(3)(B) is amended—

(vi) any goodwill, going concern value, or workforce in place (including its composition and terms and conditions (contractual or otherwise) of its employment); or

(vii) any other item the value or potential value of which is not attributable to tangible property or the services of any individual.

(b) CLARIFICATION OF ALLOWABLE VALUATION METHODS.

(i) the valuation of transfers of intangible property, including intangible property transferred with other property or services, on an aggregate basis, or

(ii) the valuation of such a transfer on the basis of the realistic alternatives to such a transfer, if the Secretary determines that such basis is the most reliable means of valuation of such transfers.

SEC. 59A. TAX ON BASE EROSION PAYMENTS OF TAXPAYERS WITH SUBSTANTIAL GROSS RECEIPTS.

Senate Finance Committee Explanation of Text for Tax on Base Erosion Payments
Under the proposal, an applicable taxpayer is required to pay a tax equal to the base erosion minimum tax amount for the taxable year. The base erosion minimum tax amount means, with respect to an applicable taxpayer for any taxable year, the excess of 10-percent of the modified taxable income of the taxpayer for the taxable year over an amount equal to the regular tax liability (defined in section 26(b)) of the taxpayer for the taxable year reduced (but not below zero) by the excess (if any) of credits allowed under Chapter 1 over the credit allowed under section 38 (general business credits) for the taxable year allocable to the research credit under section 41(a).

Modified taxable income means the taxable income of the taxpayer computed under Chapter 1 for the taxable year, determined without regard to any base erosion tax benefit with respect to any base erosion payment, or the base erosion percentage of any net operating loss deduction allowed under section 172 for the taxable year.

A base erosion payment generally means any amount paid or accrued by a taxpayer to a foreign person that is a related party of the taxpayer and with respect to which a deduction is allowable, including any amount paid or accrued by the taxpayer to the related party in connection with the acquisition by the taxpayer from the related party of property of a character subject to the allowance of depreciation (or amortization in lieu of depreciation). A base erosion payment also includes any amount that constitutes reductions in gross receipts of the taxpayer that is paid to or accrued by the taxpayer with respect to: (1) a surrogate foreign corporation which is a related party of the taxpayer, and (2) a foreign person that is a member of the same expanded affiliated group as the surrogate foreign corporation. A surrogate foreign corporation has the meaning given in section 7874(a)(2), but does not include a foreign corporation treated as a domestic corporation under section 7874(b).

A base erosion tax benefit means any deduction allowed with respect to a base erosion payment for the taxable year. Any base erosion tax benefit attributable to any base erosion payment on which tax is imposed by sections 871 or 881 and with respect to which tax has been deducted and withheld under sections 1441 or 1442, is not taken into account in computing modified taxable income as defined above. If the rate of tax required to be deducted and withheld under sections 1441 or 1442 with respect to any base erosion payment is reduced, the above exclusion only applies in proportion to such reduction.

(a) IMPOSITION OF TAX.—There is hereby imposed on each applicable taxpayer for any taxable year a tax equal to the base erosion minimum tax amount for the taxable year. Such tax shall be in addition to any other tax imposed by this subtitle.

(b) BASE EROSION MINIMUM TAX AMOUNT.

(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (2), the term ‘base erosion minimum tax amount’ means, with respect to any applicable taxpayer for any taxable year, the excess (if any) of—

(A) an amount equal to 10 percent of the modified taxable income of such taxpayer for the taxable year, over

(B) an amount equal to the regular tax liability (as defined in section 26(b)) of the taxpayer for the taxable year, reduced (but not below zero) by the excess (if any) of—

(i) the credits allowed under this chapter against such regular tax liability, over

(ii) the credit allowed under section 38 for the taxable year which is properly allocable to the research credit determined under section 41(a).

(2) MODIFICATIONS FOR TAXABLE YEARS BEGINNING AFTER 2025.

In the case of any taxable year beginning after December 31, 2025, paragraph (1) shall be applied—

(A) by substituting ‘12.5 percent’ for ’10 percent’ in subparagraph (A) thereof.

(d) BASE EROSION PAYMENT.

(1) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘base erosion payment’ means any amount paid or accrued by the taxpayer to a foreign person which is a related party of the taxpayer and with respect to which a deduction is allowable under this chapter.

(2) PURCHASE OF DEPRECIABLE PROPERTY. Such term shall also include any amount paid or accrued by the taxpayer to a foreign person which is a related party of the taxpayer in connection with

the acquisition by the taxpayer from such person of property of a character subject to the allowance of depreciation (or amortization in lieu of depreciation).

(3) CERTAIN PAYMENTS TO EXPATRIATED ENTITIES.

(A) IN GENERAL Such term shall also include any amount paid or accrued by the taxpayer with respect to a person described in subparagraph (B) which results in a reduction of the gross receipts of the taxpayer.

(1) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘applicable taxpayer’ means, with respect to any taxable year, a taxpayer—

(A) which is a corporation other than a regulated investment company, a real estate investment trust, or an S corporation,

(B) the average annual gross receipts of which for the 3-taxable-year period ending with the preceding taxable year are at least $500,000,000, and

(C) the base erosion percentage (as determined under subsection (c)(4)) of which for the taxable year is 4 percent or higher.

November 23, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Qatar and Saint Kitts and Nevis join OECD's BEPS Framework, Total Now 106 Countries Implementing

The Inclusive Framework (IF) welcomes Qatar and Saint Kitts and Nevis, bringing to 106 the total number of countries and jurisdictions participating on an equal footing in the BEPS Project. Members of the IF have the opportunity to work together with other OECD and G20 countries on implementing the BEPS package consistently and on developing further standards to address BEPS issues.

November 21, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dutch tax minister orders review of 4,000 deals after Paradise Paper revelations

The Dutch newspaper Trouw reports that the Netherlands Revenue Authority has been ordered by the Ministry of Finance to review all 4,000 advance pricing rulings / agreements ('APAs') between multinationals and the Revenue. 

And what is the cause?  Trouw reports that Proctor & Gamble obtained an advance ruling from the revenue with only one reviewing revenue officer signing off which is against the internal procedures of the revenue department.  See YouTube video (in Dutch) describing the issue.

Read in English a synopsis of the Dutch articles.

 

November 16, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Paradise Papers: How Music Licensing Works Yet Pays No Tax

ICIJ reports that its investigation uncovers that music song rights are licensed via a Jersey company and pay no tax:

  • A Jersey company owned the publishing rights to 26,000 songs, including classics such as "Louie, Louie," and "Country Roads”.
  • Between 2007 and 2014 the company paid no tax on income generated by the catalog which made, on average. $4.6 million a year in royalties.
  • The fund behind the company, First State Media Works Fund I, attracted investments from pension plans in North America, Europe and Australia.

Read the ICIJ story that describes how the process works.

November 15, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Paradise Papers Exposes Apple's Discussions With Attorneys After Congressional Tax Investigation

ICIJ reports again on the Paradise Papers - this time Apple is in the crosshairs:

Despite almost all design and development of its products taking place in the U.S., the iPhone-maker has for years been able to report that about two-thirds of its worldwide profits were Journalists logo made in other countries, where it has used loopholes to access ultra-low foreign tax rates.

Now leaked documents help show how Apple quietly carried out a restructuring of its Irish companies at the end of 2014, allowing it to carry on paying taxes at low rates on the majority of global profits.

Those rates allowed it to accumulate a $252 billion mountain of cash offshore.

 

November 9, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Nike shifted billions in trademark profits between subsidiaries to avoid high taxes in Europe

ICIJ reports: "In the three years after that conference call, its after-tax profits would jump by an astounding 55 percent, to $1.88 billion, thanks in Journalists logo substantial part to a drop in its worldwide effective tax rate from 34.9 percent to 24.8 percent – on its way to 13.2 percent last year. .... Since switching property rights to the Swoosh and other trademarks from the Bermuda subsidiary to the Dutch partnership in 2014, Nike’s pile of offshore profits has continued to grow. At the end of May 2017, it had reached $12.2 billion. These accumulated earnings have been taxed at less than 2 percent by foreign tax authorities – and not at all in the United States.

In late 2016, the ministry had urged other EU member states to delay reforms because of the heavy toll they were likely to take on the Netherlands, where the government estimates that 77,660 jobs are linked to U.S. multinationals that have been drawn there by the possibility of developing tax structures using CVs.

Read the entire investigatory story and analysis by the ICIJ here!

November 8, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent BEPS

On 7 June 2017, over 70 Ministers and other high-level representatives participated in the signing ceremony of the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting ("Multilateral Instrument" or "MLI").  Signatories include jurisdictions from all continents and all levels of development. A number of jurisdictions have also expressed their intention to sign the MLI as soon as possible and other jurisdictions are also actively working towards signature.

The MLI offers concrete solutions for governments to close the gaps in existing international tax rules by transposing results from the OECD/G20 BEPS Project into bilateral tax treaties worldwide. The MLI modifies the application of thousands of bilateral tax treaties concluded to eliminate double taxation. It also implements agreed minimum standards to counter treaty abuse and to improve dispute resolution mechanisms while providing flexibility to accommodate specific tax treaty policies. 

KEY DOCUMENTS

The text of the Multilateral Instrument (MLI) and its Explanatory Statement were developed through a negotiation involving more than 100 countries and jurisdictions and adopted on 24 November 2016, under a mandate delivered by G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors at their February 2015 meeting. The MLI and its Explanatory Statement were adopted in two equally authentic languages, English and French.

Download the text of the MLI (PDF) 

Download the Explanatory Statement (PDF)

October 31, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 23, 2017

BEPS Action 13: OECD releases CbC reporting implementation status and exchange relationships between tax administrations

a further step was taken to implement Country-by-Country Reporting in accordance with the BEPS Action 13 minimum standard, through activations of automatic exchange relationships under the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Exchange of CbC Reports ("the CbC MCAA"). Over 1000 automatic exchange relationships have now been established among jurisdictions committed to exchanging CbC Reports as of mid-2018, including those between EU Member States under EU Council Directive 2016/881/EU.

It is expected that more jurisdictions will nominate partners with which they will undertake the automatic exchange of CbC Reports under the CbC MCAA in the coming weeks. In addition, the United States has now signed 27 bilateral competent authority agreements for the exchange of CbC Reports under Double Tax Conventions or Tax Information Exchange Agreements, with more under negotiation. Regular updates will be published on the OECD website on exchange relationships to provide clarity for MNE Groups and tax administrations.

The full list of automatic exchange relationships that are now in place is available, together with an update on the implementation of the domestic legal framework for CbC Reporting in jurisdictions.

This additional wave of activations of CbC Reporting exchange relationships is another important step towards the timely implementation of Country-by-Country Reporting and reflects the commitment of jurisdictions around the world to the fight against base erosion and profit shifting.

October 23, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Platform for Collaboration on Tax invites comments on a draft toolkit on the taxation of offshore indirect transfers of assets

The draft version of The Taxation of Offshore Indirect Transfers – A Toolkit is now available for download  Download Discussion-draft-toolkit-taxation-of-offshore-indirect-transfers

The Platform for Collaboration on Tax – a joint initiative of the IMF, OECD, UN and World Bank Group – is seeking public feedback on a draft toolkit designed to help developing countries tackle the complexities of taxing offshore indirect transfers of assets, a practice by which some multinational corporations try to minimise their tax liability.

The tax treatment of 'offshore indirect transfers' (OITs) — the sale of an entity located in one country that owns an OECD_globe_10cm_HD_4c"immovable" asset located in another country, by a non-resident of the country where the asset is located — has emerged as a significant concern in many developing countries. It has become a relatively common practice for some multinational corporations trying to minimise their tax burden, and is an increasingly critical tax issue in a globalised world. But there is no unifying principle on how to treat these transactions, and the issue was not addressed in the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project. This draft toolkit, "The Taxation of Offshore Indirect Transfers – A Toolkit," examines the principles that should guide the taxation of these transactions in the countries where the underlying assets are located. It emphasises extractive (and other) industries in developing countries, and considers the current standards in the OECD and the U.N. model tax conventions, and the new Multilateral Convention. The toolkit discusses economic considerations that may guide policy in this area, the types of assets that could appropriately attract tax when transferred indirectly offshore, implementation challenges that countries face, and options which could be used to enforce such a tax.

The toolkit responds to a request by the Development Working Group of the G20, and is part of a series the Platform is preparing to help developing countries design their tax policies, keeping in mind that those countries may have limitations in their capacity to administer their tax systems. Previous reports have included discussions of tax incentives, and external support for building tax capacity in developing countries. This series complements the work that the Platform and the organisations it brings together are undertaking to increase the capacity of developing countries to apply the OECD/G20 BEPS Project.

The Platform partners now seek comments by 20 October 2017 from all interested stakeholders on this draft. Comments should be sent by e-mail to taxcollaborationplatform@worldbank.org, a common comment box for all the Platform organisations. Spanish and French language versions of the toolkit are forthcoming and will also be posted for comment. The Platform aims to release the final toolkit by the end of 2017.

Questions to consider

  1. Does this draft toolkit effectively address the rationale(s) for taxing offshore indirect transfers of assets?
  2. Does it lay out a clear principle for taxing offshore indirect transfers of assets?
  3. Is the definition of an offshore indirect transfer of assets satisfactory?
  4. Is the discussion regarding source and residence taxation in this context balanced and robustly argued?
  5. Is the suggested possible expansion of the definition of immovable property for the purposes of the taxation of offshore indirect transfers reasonable?
  6. Is the concept of location-specific rents helpful in addressing these issues? If so, how is it best formulated in practical terms?
  7. Are there other implementation approaches that should be considered?
  8. Is the draft toolkit's preference for the 'deemed disposal' method appropriate?
  9. Are the complexities in the taxation of these international transactions adequately represented? 

Please do not restrict yourself to these questions; any other views you have on addressing the taxation of offshore indirect transfers of assets would be welcome. Comments and inputs on the draft will be published, and will be taken into consideration in finalising the toolkit.

Please note that all comments received will be made publicly available. Comments submitted in the name of a collective "grouping" or "coalition", or by any person submitting comments on behalf of another person or group of persons, should identify all enterprises or individuals who are members of that collective group, or the person(s) on whose behalf the commentator(s) are acting.

Media queries should be directed to:

IMF: media@imf.org
OECD: Pascal Saint-Amans, Pascal.Saint-Amans@oecd.org
UN: Alexander Trepelkov, trepelkov@un.org
World Bank Group: Julia Oliver, joliver@worldbankgroup.org

October 13, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Country-by-Country Reporting: Handbook on Effective Tax Risk Assessment

Country-by-Country (CbC) Reporting is one of the four minimum standards under the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project to which over 100 countries have CbCR Tax Risks
committed, covering the tax residence jurisdictions of nearly all large MNE groups. Where CbC Reporting is implemented effectively, and in line with the conditions set out in the BEPS Action 13 Report, it will give tax authorities unprecedented access to information on the global allocation of an MNE group's revenue, profit, tax and other attributes for high level transfer pricing risk assessment and the assessment of other BEPS-related risks.

This handbook supports countries in the effective use of CbC Reports by incorporating them into a tax authority's risk assessment process, including:

  • a description of the role of tax risk assessment in tax administration, the core characteristics of an effective risk assessment system, and examples of the approaches used in different countries;
  • an outline of the information contained in CbC Reports, and the potential advantages CbC Reports have over data from other sources;
  • consideration of the ways in which CbC Reports can be incorporated into a tax authority's risk assessment framework and a description of some of the main potential tax risk indicators that may be identified using CbC Reports;
  • a description of some of the challenges that may be faced by a tax authority in using CbC Reports for tax risk assessment and how some of these may be dealt with;
  • an outline of some of the other sources of data that may be used by a tax authority alongside CbC Reports; and
  • an overview of how the results of a tax risk assessment using CbC Reports may be used and the next steps that should be taken.

 

October 12, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

OECD Forum on Tax Administration (FTA) Announces New Global Compliance Initiatives

We, the heads of 48 tax administrations, met in Oslo for the 11th Plenary meeting of the OECD Forum on Tax Administration (FTA). The meeting brought together over 180 delegates, OECD FTA including the Treasury Minister of Argentina - the incoming G20 Presidency - the Finance Minister of Norway, Tax Commissioners and senior officials, representatives of business as well as international partner organisations. We would like to thank our hosts, the Norwegian Tax Administration, for the excellent arrangements for this meeting and for the warm welcome to Oslo.

The Forum on Tax Administration brings together Tax Commissioners of the most advanced tax administrations worldwide, including OECD and G20 countries, to work collaboratively on global tax administration challenges and take collective action to achieve common goals. Together FTA members collect EUR 8.5 trillion in revenues to fund public services and deliver government objectives. At this year’s Plenary we focused on the following interlocking themes:

At this year’s Plenary we focused on the following interlocking themes:  Supporting the OECD/G20 international tax agenda, in particular through implementing automatic

 Supporting the OECD/G20 international tax agenda, in particular through implementing automatic exchange of information, the BEPS outcomes and actions to enhance tax certainty;
 Improving compliance through work on the shadow economy and a future focus on the effective use of data, including from online intermediaries in the sharing economy;
 Building the tax administration of the future with a focus on digital services and delivery, and supporting wider capacity building in developing countries, core to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including through assistance on the implementation of BEPS and automatic exchange of information.

Supporting the international tax agenda

We continue to prioritise implementation of the OECD/G20 international tax agenda. On automatic exchange of bank information, pursuant to the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), we have put everything in place domestically and internationally to exchange within the timelines to which our jurisdictions have committed. The automatic exchange of information is making accounts held offshore visible to tax authorities for the first time, allowing unpaid tax to be recovered and appropriate penalties applied to those who do not come forward voluntarily. As reported by the OECD to the G20, disclosure initiatives previously taken in advance of this change have already identified close to EUR 85 billion in
additional revenue.

September 2017, the time of our Plenary, is a key milestone for the first exchanges of CRS information and we are pleased to announce that such exchanges are now beginning between many of our members. We agreed to continue to work collaboratively to ensure that data exchanged under the CRS is of high quality and is used effectively and appropriately in the common fight against tax evasion. CRS information is being exchanged using the Common Transmission System (CTS), the first global, secure bilateral exchange system connecting tax administrations from around the world. The FTA designed, funded and built the CTS and did so on time and on budget. The CTS has substantially reduced costs, enhanced security levels, and eliminated the need for over 5000 bilateral transmission channels. We thank all ofthose involved in this huge collective effort, which we see as a template for future FTA co-operation, and we welcome the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information’s role in managing the ongoing operation of the CTS.

On BEPS, we welcomed the release of the first six MAP peer review reports under BEPS Action 14 earlier this week. FTA members have further driven forward work under Action 13 and jointly prepared for the first exchanges of CbC reports in June of next year. It is in this context that we have released two handbooks containing practical guidance on how to implement Country-by-County (CbC) reporting and how to make effective use of the information for high level risk assessment purposes, including detailed
examples of dos and don’ts.

On the tax certainty agenda we are moving forward with an ambitious and comprehensive agenda focused on dispute prevention and dispute resolution, supplementing the ongoing work on MAP and CbC, and including:

 A new international compliance assurance programme - ICAP. We launched ICAP, a pilot program that uses CbC Reports and other information to facilitate multilateral engagements between MNE groups and participating tax administrations, bringing benefits to taxpayers and tax administrations including improved risk assessment based on fully informed and targeted use of CbCR information, an efficient use of resources, a faster and clearer route to multilateral tax certainty and fewer disputes entering into MAP.
 Improved and better co-ordinated risk assessment. The ICAP pilot will be complemented by a new FTA project mapping out jurisdictions’ differing approaches to risk assessment with a view to increasing mutual understanding, closer cooperation and convergence.
 More closely integrated international audit activity. A new project will look at how to facilitate greater use of joint audits across jurisdictions, reducing costs for firms and allowing tax administrations to work jointly on the assessment of tax liabilities in cross-border operations, further reducing situations requiring resolution through MAP.
 Reducing audit adjustment not sustainable in MAP. Further work will be undertaken in improving and promoting the “Global Awareness Training for International Tax Examiners”. 

Improving compliance

The Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC) has continued to provide a highly effective mechanism for bringing together tax administrations to respond to new global compliance risks and to collaborate on individual cases. The JITSIC work on the Panama Papers has resulted in a better understanding of evasion and avoidance arrangements, especially the role of intermediaries in these arrangements, improved exchange of information practices and an agreed collaborative approach to any future data leaks.

We have released a report on the Shadow Economy, which identifies the latest trends in shadow economy activity, including the rise of labour market crime, and highlights how tax administrations are responding, including through taking whole of government approaches and the use of new technologies such as online cash registers and data matching. As a result of this report, a new project is being launched to obtain and share information from online intermediaries in the sharing and gig economy on payments which might otherwise go untaxed. This project will include discussions with intermediaries including on data aspects such as the format and periodicity of data collection. Finally, tax debt management remains a priority issue for the FTA, with nearly EUR 800 billion of

Finally, tax debt management remains a priority issue for the FTA, with nearly EUR 800 billion of potentially collectible tax debt, and we have launched a new project to identify  innovative practices, including the use of behavioural insights, and to learn from best in class. Future of tax administration

Future of tax administration

All FTA members are looking at the opportunities that new technologies, analytical tools and data provide for increasing compliance, improving taxpayer service and reducing burdens. This is a fundamental rather than incremental change and the wider economic benefits can be substantial. We have released a new report on the Changing Tax Compliance Environment and Role of Audit which sets out the scale and scope of the changes taking place in the tax environment and the opportunities and challenges that arise. The digital transformation will continue to be a major focus of FTA work going forward.

Significant change is taking place in FTA member tax administrations, driven by the use of new technologies but also other factors, such as cost reductions and the taking on of new responsibilities. It is against this background, that today we are also pleased to release the Tax Administration Series 2017 which identifies how these shifts are occurring in different tax administrations, including through a large number of country examples, and provides invaluable comparative information to inform tax administrations’ strategies. We also commend the exemplary cooperation with the IMF, CIAT and IOTA in the collection of this data which has now, for the first time, created a set of comparative data on tax administrations covering more than 130 jurisdictions from around the world.

In the critical area of capacity building we took important steps in joining-up the work of individual tax administrations, supporting the Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Initiative and in working with other regional tax organisations as well as the Platform for Collaboration on Tax (OECD, IMF, WBG, UN). A new platform has been developed by the Canada Revenue Agency, the Knowledge Sharing Platform (KSP), which allows learning tools and material to be disseminated more easily, and provides a one-stop shop to connect tax officials from around the world.

Finally, the Plenary thanked Edward Troup, Commissioner of the United Kingdom’s HM Revenue & Customs, for the leadership and direction he has shown over the last three years which have seen significant changes in the international tax environment. FTA collaboration is stronger and more effective than ever. The Plenary also welcomed the appointment of the new Chair, Hans Christian Holte, Commissioner of the Norwegian Tax Administration and looked forward to continued co-operation on the
collective opportunities and challenges for tax administrations.

October 10, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Country-by-Country Reporting: Handbook on Effective Implementation

Country-by-Country (CbC) Reporting is one of the four minimum standards under the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project to which over 100 countries have CbCR committed, covering the tax residence jurisdictions of nearly all large MNE groups. Where CbC Reporting is implemented effectively, and in line with the conditions set out in the BEPS Action 13 Report, it will give tax authorities unprecedented access to information on the global allocation of an MNE group's revenue, profit, tax and other attributes for high level transfer pricing risk assessment and the assessment of other BEPS-related risks.

This handbook is a practical guide to assist countries in implementing CbC Reporting into their domestic law, taking into account:

  • key factors that countries should consider in introducing a domestic legal framework for the filing and use of CbC Reports;
  • issues concerning the implementation and operation of an international framework for the exchange of CbC Reports;
  • operational aspects of CbC Reporting, including mechanisms to identify entities required to file CbC Reports in a country, the handling of CbC Reports and the importance of effective sanctions for non-compliance; and
  • practical issues including the importance of guidance to taxpayers and tax authority staff, engaging with stakeholders and providing training for staff who will deal with CbC Reports.

Download Beps-action-13-on-country-by-country-reporting-appropriate-use-of-information-in-CbC-reports

Lexis’ Practical Guide to U.S. Transfer Pricing fifty co-authors contribute subject matter expertise on technical issues faced by tax and risk management counsel.  Free download of chapter 2 here

October 9, 2017 in BEPS | Permalink | Comments (0)