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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...

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The Evolving World of Global Tax Planning

In October 2015, final recommendations on Base Erosion and Profits Shifting (BEPS) were released, setting in motion epochal changes that will impact the global effective tax rate (ETR) of multinational enterprises (MNE) in the coming years. Country-by-Country Reporting (CbCR) is the first, almost globally adopted output of the BEPS process currently facing MNEs. It raises some potentially far-reaching questions with respect to traditional operating models and supply chain structures, and also affects the future of cross-border dispute resolution. Harnessing the potential upsides and downsides of these and the other evolutions will be a driver of the future ETR of MNEs. View the five-minute video below, in which McDermott lawyers discuss the implications of Country-by-Country Reporting for MNEs.

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Globalism vs. Populism in the International Tax World

Adoption of the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) action items in specific countries can be expected to alter traditional multi-national enterprises (MNE) tax strategy processes. In this regard, it is appropriate to note that tax authorities and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) often seem to overlook, or conveniently ignore, that MNE strategies are often a function of the rules established by countries to develop their own tax base (at the expense of other countries). In other words, countries, in their respective self-interests, grant incentives of various sorts to encourage economic investment. MNEs take advantage of these incentives to minimize their tax liabilities, which the BEPS process views as, somehow, inappropriate behavior of MNEs denuding the tax base of other countries. Like water going downhill, MNE planning strategies will utilize the most efficient path to achieve desired objectives. This is a fiduciary...

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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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Brexit: The Consequences for International Tax Planning

Just over a month has now passed since the referendum in which the United Kingdom voted narrowly to leave the European Union: an event which some have characterized as the greatest potential shock to the UK economy since the Second World War. For most multinational groups considering the potential consequences of Brexit on their tax position, however, the best advice is probably the same as that provided by the famous wartime poster: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” While much remains to be resolved about the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, what has become clear is that it will not happen quickly. The Government has stated that it will not serve formal notice of its intention to leave the European Union before the New Year, which will start a period of negotiation that, under the European Union Treaty, is anticipated to take two years. The United Kingdom is thus likely to remain an EU member state until at least 2019. Brexit will almost certainly...

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ABA Seeks Priority Guidance for Transfer Pricing Issues

The ABA recently issued comments to the IRS and Treasury regarding the new temporary regulations issued in TD 9738 concerning the aggregation of controlled transactions, under Section 482, which broaden (“clarify”) the scope of intangible value, to include “all the value provided” from a controlled transaction, and such other transactions that may occur before, during or after, that are so interrelated, as to require aggregate consideration. See attached. While the IRS does not explicitly mention goodwill or going concern—except by reference in one example—the regulations are intended to sweep in the consideration of any goodwill, including synergy, value that may relate to such transactions. Given the inherent difficulty, and the persistent controversy, as exhibited in the past (i.e., the Veritas and Amazon cases) and as certainly more is yet to come (BEPS) in attempting to determine the value of intangibles generally, let alone goodwill, for the sake of...

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Preparing for Country-by-Country Reporting in 2016

Country-by Country (CbC) reporting is on the horizon for large US multi-national enterprises (MNE).  As part of the broader Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) project undertaken by the Group of 20 (G20) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United States will soon require the parent entity of large US MNE groups to file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) a new annual report that requires information regarding income earned and taxes paid by the group on a country-by-country basis.  The new reporting requirements would generally apply to US MNE groups with annual revenues of $850 million or more. Late last December, Treasury published proposed regulations detailing the future reporting process.  Recently, Robert Stack, Treasury deputy assistant secretary (international tax affairs) indicated that Treasury anticipates issuing final regulations by June 30, 2016, which would be effective for US MNEs with tax years...

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