OECD – BACKGROUND BRIEF. Inclusive Framework on BEPS

OECD – BACKGROUND BRIEF. Inclusive Framework on BEPS. The international tax landscape has changed dramatically in recent years as a result of economic challenges, and new standards have been developed to enable countries protect their revenue bases. With a conservatively estimated annual revenue loss of USD 100 to 240 billion due to base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), the stakes are high for governments around the world. With the political support of the G20 Leaders, OECD and G20 countries have taken joint action to address the weaknesses within the international tax system that create opportunities for BEPS. Working with other countries, they have developed a comprehensive package of measures to tackle BEPS: the BEPS package. Countries and jurisdictions are now working together on implementing the BEPS package consistently on a global basis, and to develop further standards to address remaining BEPS issues. To these ends, the decision making body for the OECD’s tax work – the OECD Committee on Fiscal Affairs (CFA) – had been opened up to interested countries and jurisdictions in order to put in place an Inclusive Framework on BEPS. The Inclusive Framework on BEPS held its first meeting on 30 June – 1 July 2016 in Kyoto, Japan, and the second on 26 – 27 January 2017 in Paris, France. Members of the framework work on an equal footing to tackle tax avoidance, to improve the coherence of international tax rules, and to ensure a more transparent tax environment. In particular, the framework: – develops standards in respect of remaining BEPS issues; – will review the implementation of agreed minimum standards through an effective monitoring system; – monitors BEPS issues, including tax challenges raised by the digital economy; and – facilitates the implementation processes of the Members by providing further guidance and by supporting development of toolkits to support low-capacity developing countries. Joining the Inclusive Framework offers the opportunity to interested countries and jurisdictions to participate in the BEPS related work on an equal footing with other OECD and G20 countries. Being part of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS will facilitate the implementation, as well as the peer review processes of the Members, by providing them further guidance and support, including guidance covered by the Platform for Collaboration on Tax established among the IMF, the OECD, the UN and the World Bank Group.

OECD – 2017 UPDATE TO THE OECD MODEL TAX CONVENTION

OECD – 2017 UPDATE TO THE OECD MODEL TAX CONVENTION. This note includes the contents of the 2017 update to the OECD Model Tax Convention (the 2017 Update). The 2017 Update was approved by the Committee on Fiscal Affairs on 28 September 2017 and by the OECD Council on 21 November 2017. The 2017 Update primarily comprises changes to the OECD Model Tax Convention (the OECD Model) that were approved as part of the BEPS Package or were foreseen as part of the follow-up work on the treaty-related BEPS measures. These changes include the following: • Changes to the Title and Preamble of the OECD Model, as well as to its Introduction, and related Commentary changes contained in the Report on Action 6 (Preventing the Granting of Treaty Benefits in Inappropriate Circumstances). • The addition of new paragraph 2 to Article 1 (the transparent entity provision) and of related Commentary changes. These changes appear in Chapter 14 of the Report on Action 2 (Neutralising the Effects of Hybrid Mismatch Arrangements). • The addition of new paragraph 3 to Article 1 (the “saving clause”) and of related Commentary changes. These changes appear in the Report on Action 6. • Changes to the section of the Commentary on Article 1 on “Improper use of the Convention”, which include optional provisions to deny treaty benefits with respect to income benefiting from “special tax regimes” and in cases of certain subsequent changes to the domestic law of a treaty partner after the conclusion of a tax treaty. Draft proposals for these optional provisions were included in the Report on Action 6, which noted that the proposals would be reviewed in the light of similar proposals which had been released by the United States for public comment in September 2015. The optional provisions on “special tax regimes” and on subsequent changes to domestic law, as they appear in the 2017 Update, were finalised accordingly.

OECD – BEPS ACTION 13. GUIDANCE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF COUNTRY-BY-COUNTRY REPORTING

 All OECD and G20 countries have committed to implementing country by country (CbC) reporting, as set out in the Action 13 Report “Transfer Pricing Documentation and Country-by-Country Reporting”. Recognising the significant benefits that CbC reporting can offer a tax administration in undertaking high level risk assessment of transfer pricing and other BEPS related tax risks, a number of other jurisdictions have also committed to implementing CbC reporting (which with OECD members form the “Inclusive Framework”), including developing countries. Jurisdictions have agreed that implementing CbC reporting is a key priority in addressing BEPS risks, and the Action 13 Report recommended that reporting take place with respect to fiscal periods commencing from 1 January 2016. Swift progress is being made in order to meet this timeline, including the introduction of domestic legal frameworks and the entry into competent authority agreements for the international exchange of CbC reports. MNE Groups are likewise making preparations for CbC reporting, and dialogue between governments and business is a critical aspect of ensuring that CbC reporting is implemented consistently across the globe. Consistent implementation will not only ensure a level playing field, but also provide certainty for taxpayers and improve the ability of tax administrations to use CbC reports in their risk assessment work. The OECD will continue to support the consistent and swift implementation of CbC reporting. Where questions of interpretation have arisen and would be best addressed through common public guidance, the OECD will endeavour to make this available. The guidance in this document is intended to assist in this regard. Some questions and answers refer to articles of the Model Legislation related to Countryby-Country Reporting contained in the Action 13 Report (“Model Legislation”). Such references do not mean that countries’ domestic legislation should follow word-for-word the provisions in the Model Legislation. As indicated in paragraph 61 of the Action 13 Report “jurisdictions will be able to adapt this model legislation to their own legal systems, where changes to current legislation are required”. Countries’ domestic legal framework should however, be substantively consistent with the Model Legislation. Updated November 2017.  

OECD – INTERNATIONAL TAX PLANNING

OECD – INTERNATIONAL TAX PLANNING AND FIXED INVESTMENT ECONOMICS DEPARTMENTS WORKING PAPERS No. 1361: 1. Corporate income taxes affect business investment in several ways. By reducing the after-tax return on investment, high corporate taxes can lead firms to reject certain investment projects or reduce their scale, thus reducing the overall level of investment (OECD, 2009; Arnold et al., 2011). Corporate taxes also influence the allocation of investment across industries and countries (Fatica, 2013). All else equal, higher-tax rate countries attract less international investment than lower-tax rate countries, although corporate taxes are only one among many determinants of investment location (Skeie, 2016; Hajkova et al., 2006; Feld and Heckemeyer, 2011). 2. This paper explores whether the effect of corporate taxes on investment is influenced by international tax planning, which is also known as Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) (OECD, 2013). The idea is that tax planning allows multinational enterprises (MNEs) to reduce their tax burden, for example by shifting profits to lower-tax rate or no-corporate-tax countries (Johansson et al., 2016a). As a result, the return on investment of an MNE entity in a high-tax rate country is only partially taxed (or not taxed at all) in this country. Reflecting this, tax-planning MNEs are expected to be less sensitive to corporate taxes in their investment decisions than non-tax-planning firms. Indeed, existing single-country studies focusing on US and German MNEs suggest that tax planning can affect the tax sensitivity of investment (Grubert, 2003; Overesch, 2009). The purpose of this paper is to assess this effect systematically across a wide range of countries. 3. This paper confirms that corporate taxes have a negative impact on investment and shows that this negative impact is smaller among tax-planning MNEs than other firms. The analysis is based on a large sample of industry and firm-level data for OECD and G20 countries. A 5 percentage point increase in the effective marginal corporate tax rate is found to be associated with a reduction in investment by about 5% in the long term on average across industries. This effect is lower in industries with a high concentration of MNE entities with profit-shifting incentives, i.e. entities facing a higher statutory corporate tax rate than the average in their MNE group. This definition of profit-shifting incentives is in line with the accompanying paper on the assessment of tax planning (Johansson et al., 2016a). For an industry with a strong presence of MNE entities with profit-shifting incentives (75th percentile of the distribution), the tax sensitivity of investment is nearly halved as compared to the median industry. Results obtained at the firm-level are consistent with these industry-level results. 4. The estimation results also suggest that strong anti-avoidance rules against tax planning (e.g. strict transfer pricing documentation requirements and interest deductibility rules, see Johansson et al., 2016b) increase the tax sensitivity of investment in industries with a strong concentration of profit-shifting MNEs. This confirms that tax planning affects the tax sensitivity of investment. Thus, tax planning opportunities may allow higher-tax rate countries to retain attractiveness as investment destinations for taxplanning MNEs, but this would come at the cost of tax distortions and losses in tax revenues. (By Stéphane Sorbe and Åsa Johansson).

OECD Taxation Working Papers No. 33: PERMIT ALLOCATION RULES AND INVESTMENT INCENTIVES IN EMISSIONS TRADING SYSTEMS

OECD Taxation Working Papers No. 33: PERMIT ALLOCATION RULES AND INVESTMENT INCENTIVES IN EMISSIONS TRADING SYSTEMS. Free allocation of emission permits can help gain support from industry for carbon pricing – a core policy for reducing emissions. Policy makers often envisage moving from free allocation to auctioning of permits over time. Gradually phasing out free allocation and increasing the share of auctioned permits allows raising valuable public revenue at relatively low social costs. However, evidence from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and the California Cap and Trade (CTP) program shows that it remains challenging to increase the share of auctioned permits. A significant share of emitters participating in emissions trading will continue to receive free permits in the foreseeable future. The paper offers a fresh perspective on the effects of permit allocation rules on low-carbon investment and the long-term impacts of permit allocation rules. The analysis adopts the point of view of an investor that chooses between a low-carbon (clean) and a high-carbon (dirty) technology to produce economically similar outputs, based on total profits. Emissions from production are subject to an emissions trading system. The investor chooses the most profitable technology in an imperfectly competitive market, so there are economic rents. The main result is that free allocation of tradable emission permits under current allocation rules has the potential to weaken incentives for firms to choose low-carbon technologies, compared to the situation where permits would be auctioned or a uniform tax were levied. The reason is, in general, that the permit allocation rules affect economic rents and, in practice, that existing rules do so in a way that tends to favour more carbon-intensive technologies. Investors value carbon-intensive technologies higher than in the absence of free allocation, as free allocation increases profits, and this risks changing the ranking of technologies in terms of profitablity. In other words, current allocation rules are often an impediment to decarbonisation. Free allocation can affect technology choice Recent empirical evidence for the EU ETS shows a negative correlation between free allocation and emission abatement. While the negative correlation could result from emitters with high abatement costs receiving more free allowances, interviews with managers from industrial emitters instead reveal lower perceived incentives for abatement and less low-carbon innovation for firms with more free allocation. The paper provides a plausible economic rationale for this behaviour. Section 2 of the paper conceptually analyses the impact of allocations on emissions. It considers a stylised example in which an investor can choose between a clean and a dirty technology to meet a given demand (e.g. wind or fossil fuels to generate a given supply of electricity). Investors choose between projects on the basis of total expected profits. Free allocation of permits affects expected profits in ways that potentially differ between technologies. The average permit price captures the effect of free allocation on total expected profits. If average carbon prices equalled marginal carbon prices, then permit allocation would not affect project rankings, so would be technology-neutral. The same could hold if average carbon prices were equal across technologies and if also carbon-free technologies received permits for free. Current allocation rules lead to weak incentives for low-carbon investment Section 3 of the paper looks at permit allocation rules in two of the world’s most prominent greenhouse gas emissions trading systems, namely the EU ETS and the California CTP. It identifies three ways in which allocation rules can affect technology choices, other than through the price signal at the margin: first, the benchmarks by which allocations are decided are not always technology-neutral; second, sticking to older and more carbon-intensive technologies can be of strategic interest; third, producing more with older and more carbon-intensive technologies can be of strategic interest. Benchmarks turn out to be a key factor that, through their effect on expected profits, can alter project rankings. They generally favour carbon-intensive technologies if they are not technology-neutral. Benchmarks are defined for categories of products, implying that product varieties within each category are considered as interchangeable – perfect substitutes. Substitute products can differ in technological properties as long as they satisfy a similar economic need. For substitute products within a benchmark category the allocation is the same, and this guarantees technology-neutrality in the sense that permit allocations do not affect technology choices. However, when products under different benchmarks are in fact substitutes satisfying similar needs, there is an incentive to opt for high-carbon technologies as these generally come with more permits. A comprehensive analysis of the impacts of non-neutral benchmarks considers both short- and long-run impacts. In the short-run it is costly, yet possible, to become informed on which products are close substitutes. While benchmarks might thus be able to approximate technology-neutrality in the short-run, our analysis suggests that there is ample room for improvement. In the long-run one cannot know about the substitutability of goods, implying that benchmarks cannot be technology-neutral over longer time horizons. Technology-neutrality of a carbon pricing mechanism requires that the treatment of a technology under that mechanism only depends on the carbon emissions generated, and nothing else. Different benchmarks for close substitutes and low ex-post average carbon rates in the EU ETS and the California CTP imply weak signals for favouring low-carbon investment projects over high-carbon projects. This results in more carbon-intensive investment compared to the case where all permits would be auctioned or a linear carbon tax would be set. (Florens Flues, Kurt van Dender).

OECD Taxation Working Papers N. 19: Taxation of Dividend, Interest, and Capital Gain Income

OECD Taxation Working Papers N. 19: Taxation of Dividend, Interest, and Capital Gain Income. This paper provides an overview of the differing ways in which capital income is taxed across the OECD. It provides an analytical framework which summarises the statutory tax treatment of dividend income, interest income and capital gains on shares and real property across the OECD, considering where appropriate the interaction of corporate and personal tax systems. It describes the different approaches to the tax treatment of these income types at progressive stages of taxation and concludes the discussion of each income type by summarising the different systems in diagrammatic form. For each income type, the paper presents worked calculations of the maximum combined statutory tax rates in each OECD country, under the tax treatment and rates applying as at 1 July 2012. These treatments and rates may have changed since this date and the paper should not be interpreted as reflecting the current taxation of capital income in OECD countries. (…) Many individuals, especially employees and pensioners, do not generate capital income from their own business activity, but they may have capital income from holding funds in deposit accounts or bonds, or from the ownership of shares or real property. The tax systems applied to these forms of income differ within and across OECD countries according to the nature, timing and source of the revenue, and the income level and characteristics of the income-earner. As a first step toward a comparative, descriptive analysis of the differing regimes for the taxation of capital income in OECD countries, this paper provides an analytical framework which summarises the different types of tax systems applied to three simple types of capital income earned by resident individuals in a domestic setting: · Dividend income from ordinary shares; · Interest income from cash deposits and government bonds; and · Capital gains realised on real property and shares. The paper uses this framework to describe the different types of tax systems that can apply to these types of income, noting those used in each OECD country and considering, where appropriate, the interaction between corporate and personal taxation. It calculates the maximum statutory combined tax burden on each income type: tracing the impact of different tax treatments from pre-tax income, through the relevant corporate and personal tax systems, to the post-tax income received by a representative individual. The descriptions of the different progressions are supplemented with diagrammatic and algebraic presentations and worked examples for each country. The tax rates presented in this paper represent the maximum possible burden on capital income under the relevant tax systems and statutory rates, rather than the effective tax rates on these different income types. At the individual level, the paper assumes the taxpayer to pay the highest marginal rate of tax and does not consider personal circumstances, such as the existence of family tax credits, that may reduce effective income tax rates. At the corporate level, the impact of deductions or tax planning in reducing effective tax rates is also not considered. Two related OECD work streams will calculate effective tax rates on capital income: the first will consider effective tax rates on corporate income, including the impact of tax planning; and the second, effective tax rates on savings income at the individual level for a broader range of tax payers and savings opportunities than this paper. The paper’s descriptions and analysis are somewhat stylised in order to distil the main features of what are often complex tax regimes, but it provides an overview of: · The differing ways in which dividends, interest and capital gains are taxed; · How far the relative taxation of dividends, interest, and capital gains varies in each country and from country to country; and · The differing ways in which so-called double taxation of dividends (and possibly, capital gains) at corporate and individual levels is attenuated. (Michelle Harding)

Tax Administration 2017 – Comparative Information on OECD and Other Advanced and Emerging Economies.

TAX ADMINISTRATION 2017 – COMPARATIVE INFORMATION ON OECD AND OTHER ADVANCED AND EMERGING ECONOMIES. The Tax Administration 2017 is the seventh edition of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration’s biennial comparative information series first published in 2004. The primary purpose of the Tax Administration Series (TAS) is to share information that will facilitate dialogue on the design and administration of tax systems. This edition of the TAS provides internationally comparative data on aspects of tax systems and their administration in 55 advanced and emerging economies, and includes performance-related data, ratios and trends up to the end of the 2015 fiscal year. This is the first edition of the TAS where the data has been collected through a joint web-based survey – the International Survey on Revenue Administration (ISORA) – developed in co-operation between the OECD, IMF, IOTA and CIAT. This single international survey is an important development which will simplify the collection of data and will improve international comparability across a broader range of countries. This edition was prepared by Michael Hewetson and Oliver Petzold. Considerable support was received from tax officials of the revenue bodies that participated in the preparation of the TAS, including the contributing authors, as noted in the Acknowledgments. Tax Administration 2017 is published under the responsibility of the OECD Secretary-General.

México – Procuraduría de la Defensa del Contribuyente (PRODECON): CULTURA CONTRIBUTIVA EN AMÉRICA LATINA

CULTURA CONTRIBUTIVA EN AMÉRICA LATINA. “El presente libro representa un esfuerzo colectivo de reflexión y análisis sobre la Cultura Contributiva, que involucra a destacados académicos en América Latina, y que se presenta al lector como una de las primeras obras en espanol sobre la Cultura Contributiva desde una visión regional. El libro se compone de ocho capítulos: uno introductorio, que aborda la Cultura Contributiva a nivel regional, y siete que estudian el tema en países específicos (Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Ecuador, Guatemala, México y Venezuela).”

TAX TRANSPARENCY: THE NEW “NORMAL”

This article looks at the how governments and business will have to learn to operate in an environment which is characterized by increased tax transparency and a great focus by civil society and politicians on the taxes paid by multinational enterprises and high net worth individuals. It also discusses the outcomes from the G20 led Base Erosion Profit Shifting initiative and the debate over whether multinational enterprises are paying their fair share of the tax burden. It begins by looking at the economic environment which has shaped these initiatives and then examines what have been the main drivers of these changes. A concluding section sets out what are some of the implications for Brazilian multinational enterprises and the Brazilian Revenue Service. Jeffrey Owens. In: Revista da Receita Federal: Estudos Tributários e Aduaneiros. V. 1, N. 2 (2015).