Base Erosion and Profit Shifting
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Tax Planning in a World of Increased Transparency

Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) are facing an evolving international tax landscape with long-term implications for tax compliance, planning and controversy. Understanding these changes requires continual effort. Tax Executives Institute recently invited us to explore Country-by-Country (CbC) reporting issues at the 2017 Global Tax Symposium in Houston, Texas. We had a lively discussion and know this will be a hot topic as jurisdictions begin reviewing the CbC reports.

As background, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project has been a key driver of international tax reform.  BEPS “Action 13” outlined a CbC reporting standard that has been adopted in more than 55 jurisdictions. The CbC report is an annual filing obligation identifying, among other things, the amount of revenue, profit before income tax, and income tax paid and accrued for each tax jurisdiction in which the taxpayer does business. The resulting transparency directly affects global tax strategies since the CbC report is subject to automatic exchange provisions and more than 1,000 such relationships have been established worldwide. Tax authorities will be using this information to perform tax risk assessments so taxpayers need heightened sensitivity to the breadth and depth of information available through the CbC report. If you are involved in the process of preparing a CbC report, discussing the CbC report with a tax authority, or are otherwise interested in how the CbC report could be used by a tax authority, the OECD’s Handbook on Effective Tax Risk Assessment is a valuable resource.

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Taxpayer Rights Around the World (Follow-Up)

We previously wrote two blog posts about the 2nd International Conference on Taxpayer Rights held in Vienna, Austria in March 2017 here and here. Videos of each panel discussion are now available for viewing here. Planning is currently underway for the 3rd International Conference on Taxpayer Rights, which will be held in The Netherlands on May 3-4.




Taxpayer Rights Around the World (Part 1)

On March 13 and 14, the 2nd International Conference on Taxpayer Rights was held in Vienna, Austria. More than 150 individuals from more than 40 countries attended the conference, which connects government official, scholars and practitioners from around the world to explore how taxpayer rights globally serve as the foundation for effective tax administration. This is the first of two posts recapping the issues discussed at the conference.

Four panels were held on March 13: (1) The Framework and Justification for Taxpayer Rights; (2) Privacy and Transparency; (3) Protection of Taxpayer Rights in Multi-Jurisdictional Disputes; and (4) Access to Rights: the Right to Quality Service in an Era of Reduced Agency Budgets.

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BEPS Multilateral Agreement

The most recent element of the ongoing global dispute resolution process is the late November 2016 release of the so-called multilateral instrument (MLI), a cornerstone of the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project. It is an ambitious effort of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to impose its will on as many countries as possible. The explanation comprises 85 single-spaced pages and 359 paragraphs. The MLI draft itself is 48 similar pages. The purpose of the MLI is to facilitate implementation of the BEPS Action items without having to go through the tedious process of amending approximately two thousand treaties.

In essence, the MLI implements the BEPS Action items in treaty language. While consistency is obviously an intended result, the MLI recognizes the reality that many countries will not agree to all of the provisions. Accordingly, countries are allowed to sign the agreement, but then opt out of specific provisions or make appropriate reservations with respect to specific treaties. This process is to be undertaken via notification of the “depository” (the OECD). Accordingly, countries will be able to make individual decisions on whether to update a particular treaty using the MLI.

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Introduction to the New World of Global Tax Planning

Domestic implementation of the recommendations set out in the BEPS final reports from 2015 have the potential to significantly impact effective tax rate planning. The immediate issue flows from the new country-by-country transfer pricing documentation regime (CbC). The critical consequence of the CbC regime, as well as many of the other BEPS initiatives, will be an inevitably heightened focus of tax authorities on testing locally reported transfer pricing results on a profit split basis.

Read the full article here.

 




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