This report focuses on aggressive tax planning (ATP) schemes based on after-tax hedging. In general terms, after-tax hedging consists of taking opposite positions for an amount which takes into account the tax treatment of the results from those positions (gains or losses) so that, on an after-tax basis, the risk associated with one position is neutralised by the results from the opposite position. While after-tax hedging is not, of itself, aggressive – being generally a straightforward risk management technique – the report recognises that it can also be used as a feature of ATP schemes. ATP schemes based on after-tax hedging pose a threat to countries’ revenue base: empirical evidence suggests that hundreds of millions of USD are at stake, with a number of multi-billion USD transactions identified by certain countries. ATP schemes based on after-tax hedging originated in the banking sector, but experience shows that they are also used in other industries and, in some instances, also by medium-sized enterprises, thus generating an even bigger threat to tax revenue. It is therefore important that governments are aware of arrangements that use hedging for ATP purposes. The Report follows on from the 2011 OECD Report Corporate Loss Utilisation through Aggressive Tax Planning which recommends countries analyse the policy and compliance implications of after-tax hedges in order to evaluate the appropriate options available to address them. It was prepared by the ATP Steering Group of Working Party No. 10 on Exchange of Information and Tax Compliance of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs (CFA). The report builds on a number of country submissions to the OECD Directory on Aggressive Tax Planning where several ATP schemes based on after-tax hedging have been posted. After having discussed in general terms the notion of hedging as a risk management tool and the effect of taxation on hedging transactions, the report describes the features of ATP schemes based on after-tax hedging that have been encountered by a number of countries. In those schemes, taxpayers use after-tax hedging to earn a premium return, without actually bearing the associated risks, which is in effect passed on to the government. In all of these schemes there is generally no pre-existing exposure to hedge against but rather the exposure is created as part of the relevant scheme. ATP schemes based on after-tax hedging exploit the disparate tax treatment between the results (gain or loss) from the hedged transaction/risk on the one hand, and the results (gain or loss) from the hedging instrument on the other. In some of these schemes, the tax treatment of gains and losses arising from each transaction is symmetrical, while in others the tax treatment is asymmetrical. Other schemes rely on similar building blocks and are often structured around asymmetric swaps or other derivatives. ATP schemes based on after-tax hedging can exploit differences in tax treatment within one tax system and are in that sense mostly a domestic law issue. Any country that taxes the results of a hedging instrument differently from the results of the hedged transaction/risk is potentially exposed. The issue of after-tax hedging also arises in a cross-border context with groups of companies operating across different tax systems, which gives rise to additional challenges for tax administrations. The report describes the strategies used to detect and respond to these ATP schemes. Detection strategies used include advance ruling applications, audits, the ordinary dialogue between the tax administration and large businesses, and mandatory disclosure rules.
OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project. HARMFUL TAX PRACTICES – 2017 PEER REVIEW REPORTS ON THE EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION ON TAX RULINGS. INCLUSIVE FRAMEWORK ON BEPS: ACTION 5
OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project. HARMFUL TAX PRACTICES – 2017 PEER REVIEW REPORTS ON THE EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION ON TAX RULINGS. INCLUSIVE FRAMEWORK ON BEPS: ACTION 5. The integration of national economies and markets has increased substantially in recent years, putting a strain on the international tax rules, which were designed more than a century ago. Weaknesses in the current rules create opportunities for base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), requiring bold moves by policy makers to restore confidence in the system and ensure that profits are taxed where economic activities take place and value is created. Following the release of the report Addressing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting in February 2013, OECD and G20 countries adopted a 15-point Action Plan to address BEPS in September 2013. The Action Plan identified 15 actions along three key pillars: introducing coherence in the domestic rules that affect cross-border activities, reinforcing substance requirements in the existing international standards, and improving transparency as well as certainty. After two years of work, measures in response to the 15 actions were delivered to G20 Leaders in Antalya in November 2015. All the different outputs, including those delivered in an interim form in 2014, were consolidated into a comprehensive package. The BEPS package of measures represents the first substantial renovation of the international tax rules in almost a century. Once the new measures become applicable, it is expected that profits will be reported where the economic activities that generate them are carried out and where value is created. BEPS planning strategies that rely on outdated rules or on poorly co-ordinated domestic measures will be rendered ineffective. Implementation is now the focus of this work. The BEPS package is designed to be implemented via changes in domestic law and practices, and in tax treaties. With the negotiation of a multilateral instrument (MLI) having been finalised in 2016 to facilitate the implementation of the treaty related BEPS measures, over 80 jurisdictions are covered by the MLI. The entry into force of the MLI on 1 July 2018 paves the way for swift implementation of the treaty related measures. OECD and G20 countries also agreed to continue to work together to ensure a consistent and co-ordinated implementation of the BEPS recommendations and to make the project more inclusive. Globalisation requires that global solutions and a global dialogue be established which go beyond OECD and G20 countries. A better understanding of how the BEPS recommendations are implemented in practice could reduce misunderstandings and disputes between governments. Greater focus on implementation and tax administration should therefore be mutually beneficial to governments and business. Proposed improvements to data and analysis will help support ongoing evaluation of the quantitative impact of BEPS, as well as evaluating the impact of the countermeasures developed under the BEPS Project. As a result, the OECD established the Inclusive Framework on BEPS, bringing all interested and committed countries and jurisdictions on an equal footing in the Committee on Fiscal Affairs and all its subsidiary bodies. The Inclusive Framework, which already has more than 120 members, is monitoring and peer reviewing the implementation of the minimum standards as well as completing the work on standard setting to address BEPS issues. In addition to BEPS members, other international organisations and regional tax bodies are involved in the work of the Inclusive Framework, which also consults business and the civil society on its different work streams. This report was approved by the Inclusive Framework on BEPS on 13 November 2018 and prepared for publication by the OECD Secretariat.
OECD – CORPORATE TAX STATISTICS. FIRST EDITION. The Corporate Tax Statistics database is intended to assist in the study of corporate tax policy and expand the quality and range of data available for the analysis of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). In developing this first edition of the database, the OECD has worked closely with members of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS (Inclusive Framework) and other jurisdictions willing to participate in the collection and compilation of statistics relevant to corporate taxation. The 2015 Measuring and Monitoring BEPS, Action 11 report highlighted that the lack of quality data on corporate taxation is a major limitation to the measurement and monitoring of the scale of BEPS and the impact of the OECD/G20 BEPS project. While this database is of interest to policy makers from the perspective of BEPS, its scope is much broader. Apart from BEPS, corporate tax systems are important more generally in terms of the revenue that they raise and the incentives for investment and innovation that they create. The Corporate Tax Statistics database brings together a range of valuable information to support the analysis of corporate taxation, in general, and of BEPS, in particular. The database compiles new data items and statistics currently collected and stored by the OECD in various existing data sets. The first edition of the database contains four main categories of data: l corporate tax revenues; l statutory corporate income tax rates; l corporate effective tax rates; l tax incentives related to innovation. Future editions will also include an important new data source: aggregated and anonymised statistics of data collected under the BEPS Action 13 Country-byCountry Reports.
OECD – Fighting Tax Crime: The Ten Global Principles. This is the first comprehensive guide to fighting tax crimes. It sets out ten global principles, covering the legal, strategic, administrative and operational aspects of addressing tax crimes. The guide has been prepared by the OECD Task Force on Tax Crimes and Other Crimes (TFTC). It draws on the experience of the members of the TFTC as well as additional survey data provided by 31 jurisdictions: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The guide shows that the fight against tax crime is being actively pursued by governments around the world. Jurisdictions have comprehensive laws that criminalise tax offences, and the ability to apply strong penalties, including lengthy prison sentences, substantial fines, asset forfeiture and a range of alternative sanctions. Jurisdictions generally have a wide range of investigative and enforcement powers as well as access to relevant data and intelligence. Suspects’ rights are nearly universally understood in the same way and enshrined in law. Increasingly, jurisdictions are taking a strategic approach to addressing tax offences, which includes targeting key risks and leveraging the tools for co-operation with other law enforcement agencies, both domestically and internationally. At the same time, tax crime investigations increasingly need to be undertaken with greater efficiency and fewer resources. However, data shows that the investment is worthwhile, with some jurisdictions being able to calculate the return on investment from the criminal tax investigation teams and reporting recovery of funds well in excess of the expenditure, ranging from 150% to 1500% return on investment. The role played by criminal tax investigators thus contributes significantly to jurisdiction’s overall tax compliance efforts. The implementation of the 10 global principles around the world is critical in addressing the tax gap and supporting domestic resource mobilisation. Recommendations: This guide recommends that jurisdictions benchmark themselves against each of the ten global principles. This includes identifying areas where changes in law or operational aspects are needed, such as increasing the type of investigative or enforcement powers, expanding access to other government-held data, devising or updating the strategy for addressing tax offences, and taking greater efforts to measure the impact of the work they do. In particular, developing jurisdictions are encouraged to use the guide as a diagnostic tool to identify principles which may not yet be in place. Jurisdictions which have made commitments to capacity building for developing jurisdictions in tax matters (such as the Addis Tax Initiative or the G7 Bari Declaration) are recommended to consider how they can work with developing jurisdictions to enhance tax crime investigation based on this guide, including through providing support for the OECD International Academy for Tax Crime Investigation and other regional initiatives. The TFTC will continue its work in facilitating international co-operation on fighting tax crime, particularly on issues where multilateral action is required to address common challenges. This could also include collaborating to create an agreed strategy for addressing tax crimes that have cross-border elements. Such a strategy could include identifying the risks of such tax crimes, defining the additional data and other mechanisms that are needed to more effectively combat such tax crimes and working towards ensuring that data and mechanisms are available and efficient in practice.
OECD – Improving Co-operation between Tax Authorities and Anti-Corruption Authorities in Combating Tax Crime and Corruption
OECD – Improving Co-operation between Tax Authorities and Anti-Corruption Authorities in Combating Tax Crime and Corruption. 1. Countries around the globe are facing a common threat posed by increasingly complex and innovative forms of financial crime. By exploiting modern technology and weaknesses in local legislation, criminals can now covertly move substantial sums between multiple jurisdictions with relative ease and great speed. As a consequence, criminal activity such as tax evasion, bribery and other forms of corruption are becoming ever more sophisticated. Meanwhile, law enforcement structures have, in many cases, not evolved at the same speed and the international community has struggled to keep up with this threat. 2. While viewed as distinct crimes, tax crime and corruption are often intrinsically linked, as criminals fail to report income derived from corrupt activities for tax purposes, or over-report in an attempt to launder the proceeds of corruption. A World Bank study of 25 000 firms in 57 countries found that firms that pay more bribes also evade more taxes. 1 More broadly, where corruption is prevalent in society, this can foster tax evasion. A recent IFC Enterprise Survey found that 13.3% of businesses globally report that “firms are expected to give gifts in meetings with tax officials”, with the frequency of this ranging across countries from nil to 62.6%. 2 3. The links between tax crime and corruption mean that tax authorities and law enforcement authorities can benefit greatly from more effective co-operation and sharing of information. Tax authorities hold a wealth of personal and company information such as income, assets, financial transactions and banking information, that can be a valuable source of intelligence to anti-corruption investigators. Similarly, anticorruption authorities can provide tax administrations with important information about ongoing and completed corruption investigations that could assist a decision to reopen a tax assessment, initiate a tax crime investigation, or more generally promote integrity among tax officials. The investigation into Brazilian majority-state-owned oil company, Petrobras, initiated in 2014, is a prime example of this. Civil tax auditors played a critical role in this transnational corruption investigation by analysing suspects’ tax and customs data and sharing this with the police and public prosecutor as permitted by law. As a result, officials were able to uncover evidence of money laundering, tax evasion, and hidden assets, and to track financial flows. While criminal investigations and prosecutions are still ongoing, as of August 2018, the operation has resulted in dozens of charges against high profile public officials and politicians and billions of dollars in criminal fines, tax penalties, and recovered assets. 4. However, there remains significant room for improvement in co-operation between tax authorities and anti-corruption authorities. Despite success stories, anecdotal evidence provided by many jurisdictions involved in this report suggests that reporting and information sharing between authorities often occurs on ad-hoc basis rather than systematically. This is reinforced by the OECD’s 2017 study on the Detection of Foreign Bribery, which provides that only 2% of concluded foreign bribery cases between 1999 and 2017 were detected by tax authorities.3 5. These issues are at the heart of the current global agenda. In 2015, the United Nations agreed 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including a specific target of substantially reducing corruption in all of its forms. 4 The World Bank and OECD strongly support these goals and recognise the importance of dealing with corruption and tax evasion at a policy and technical level. In this context, for many years, international organisations including the OECD and World Bank have been active in supporting countries to strengthen their legal and institutional frameworks for the prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of tax crime and corruption, and the recovery of the proceeds of these crimes. In 2012, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recognised these links by including corruption, bribery, and tax crimes in the list of designated predicate offences for money laundering purposes in its International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation. 5 6. In 20096 and 20107 , the OECD issued two Council Recommendations calling for greater co-operation and better information sharing between different government agencies involved in combating financial crimes. These are supported by the Oslo Dialogue, an initiative which encourages a whole of government approach to tackling all forms of financial crime. 8 As part of this initiative, in 2017, the OECD published its third edition of Effective Inter-Agency Co-operation in Fighting Tax Crimes and Other Financial Crimes (the Rome Report) which analyses the legal gateways and mechanisms for inter-agency co-operation between authorities responsible for investigating tax and other financial crimes. At the same time, the OECD published Ten Global Principles for Fighting Tax Crime, the first report of its kind which allows countries to benchmark their legal and operational frameworks for tackling tax crime, and identify areas where improvements can be made. 7. The OECD continues to advance practical tools and training to combat tax crime and corruption. OECD Handbooks on Money Laundering Awareness and Bribery and Corruption Awareness provide practical guidance to help tax officials identify indicators of possible criminal activity in the course of their work. In 2013, the OECD International Academy for Tax Crime Investigation was launched in co-operation with Italy’s Guardia di Finanza to strengthen developing countries’ capacity to tackle illicit financial flows. In 2017, a sister Academy was piloted in Kenya and will be formally launched in Nairobi, in late 2018. In July 2018, OECD and Argentina’s Federal Administration of Public Revenue (AFIP) signed a MoU to establish a Latin American centre of the OECD Academy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the first programme planned for late 2018. 8. The World Bank is also helping strengthen developing countries’ capacity to stem tax evasion. In 2015, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) launched the Joint Initiative to Support Developing Countries in Strengthening Tax Systems to give greater voice to developing countries in the global debate on tax issues. 9 Through this joint initiative, the World Bank and the IMF are assembling a set of tools and guidance aimed at addressing developing economy needs. As part of this work, the World Bank has also partnered with the governments of Norway and Denmark to launch the Tax Evasion Initiative to enable enforcement agencies in developing countries to more effectively combat tax crimes and other financial crimes. Under the Tax Evasion Initiative, the World Bank is developing a set of tools, including a handbook on tax evasion schemes and red flags for tax investigators and auditors, as well as a methodology for assessing the performance of criminal tax investigation units which is currently being piloted. 9. In researching, developing, and publishing this joint report on the legal, strategic, and operational aspects of co-operation between tax authorities and anti-corruption authorities, the World Bank and OECD aim to complement their existing work and advance the shared objective of improving the capacity of all countries to effectively combat financial crime.
OECD/UNDP – Tax Inspectors Without Borders. Annual Report 2017/18. This Annual Report from Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) covers the period May 2017 to April 2018. TIWB’s practical and results-oriented approach to supporting domestic resource mobilisation is proving increasingly relevant in a fast moving international environment. TIWB is contributing to the United Nations’ Financing for Development agenda, and supporting progress towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is also underpinning the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) actions, strengthening developing countries ability to effectively tax multinational enterprises (MNEs), while offering increased certainty and predictability to taxpayers. TIWB increasingly operates in close partnership with a diverse range of stakeholders and partners. Demand for TIWB is growing. There are 29 programmes currently operational and 7 have been completed, together exceeding the target of 35 programmes by April 2018 set by the TIWB Governing Board. Over 20 programmes are in the pipeline. New South-South opportunities are being identified, with India, Nigeria, and South Africa now offering expertise. These developments are, in part, due to increased active participation from Partner Administrations (those providing experts), with 11 countries deploying their serving tax officials and a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) managed roster of 40 tax audit experts up and running. To date, USD 414 million in increased tax revenues is attributable to TIWB and TIWB-style support offered in partnership with the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) and the World Bank Group (WBG). TIWB represents excellent value for money with over USD 100 in additional tax revenues recovered for every USD 1 spent on operating costs. Whilst revenue impact is important, in the last year TIWB has gathered evidence of other long-term outcomes, including on skills transfer, organisational change and taxpayer compliance. The TIWB Secretariat has developed new tools to help with the measurement challenge. In 2017, an Experts’ Roundtable and a Stakeholders’ Workshop, involving stakeholders from 28 countries and 6 international and regional organisations, gathered lessons on how TIWB’s unique role could be strengthened and how the target of 100 tax expert deployments by 2020 should best be achieved. A mentorship programme was proposed. Other lessons include the finding that TIWB programmes with full access to taxpayer information have advantages over anonymised case reviews and can help with tax reforms by illuminating possible legislative shortcomings in international taxation. The importance of a whole-of-government approach by Partner Administrations, which could improve the efficiency of expert deployment processes with institutionalised funding arrangements, was also highlighted. The partnership between the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UNDP, which delivers TIWB, is becoming stronger with an agreed division of labour. UNDP country offices are able to facilitate national-level discussions on domestic resource mobilisation (DRM), raise awareness and build national support for TIWB programmes. The TIWB Secretariat has launched its first e-newsletter and community of practice for its Experts. TIWB has also updated its multilingual website. The year ahead will see the TIWB Secretariat pursue the implementation of the 2016- 2019 Objectives (Annex A). Priorities will include cementing partnerships with regional tax organisations, expanding the scope of TIWB to new areas such as tax and crime, continuing to build South-South programmes and building a pool of industry expertise to assist developing countries address audit challenges in key business sectors. A major international conference on TIWB and possible future directions is being considered for 2019.
United Nations Practical Manual on Transfer Pricing for Developing Countries (2017). This second edition of the United Nations Practical Manual on Transfer Pricing for Developing Countries (the Manual) is intended to draw upon the experience of the first edition (2013) including feedback on that version, but it is also intended to reflect developments in the area of transfer pricing analysis and administration since that time. At the Ninth Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters in October 2013, a Subcommittee was formed with the task, among others, of updating this Manual. The mandate of the reconstituted Subcommittee on Article 9 (Associated Enterprises): Transfer Pricing in relation to this Manual was as follows: Update and enhancement of the United Nations Practical Manual on Transfer Pricing for Developing Countries, The Subcommittee as a Whole is mandated to update the United Nations Practical Manual on Transfer Pricing for Developing Countries, based on the following principles: ¾ That it reflects the operation of Article 9 of the United Nations Model Convention, and the Arm’s Length Principle embodied in it, and is consistent with relevant Commentaries of the U.N. Model; ¾ That it reflects the realities for developing countries, at their relevant stages of capacity development; ¾ That special attention should be paid to the experience of developing countries; and ¾ That it draws upon the work being done in other fora. In carrying out its mandate, the Subcommittee shall in particular consider comments and proposals for amendments to the Manual and provide draft additional chapters on intra-group services and management fees and intangibles, as well as a draft annex on available technical assistance and capacity building resources such as may assist developing countries. The Subcommittee shall give due consideration to the outcome of the OECD/Group of Twenty (G20) Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting as concerns transfer pricing and the Manual shall reflect the special situation of less developed economies. The Subcommittee shall report on its progress at the annual sessions of the Committee and provide its final updated draft Manual for discussion and adoption at the twelfth annual session of the Committee in 2016. The Committee at its twelfth session recognized that the Subcommittee’s mandate had been met and approved the proposed update to the Manual. The Manual is improved, and made more responsive to issues of current country concern and also more in tune with rapid developments in this area, including those relating to the OECD/ G20 Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting mentioned in the Subcommittee mandate. It was decided by the Subcommittee, and agreed by the Committee, that the Manual was not the best place for a draft annex on available technical assistance and capacity building resources such as may assist developing countries, as mentioned in the mandate. This was considered better addressed by a webpage updated and managed by the UN Secretariat. The changes in this edition of the Manual include: ¾ A revised format and a rearrangement of some parts of the Manual for clarity and ease of understanding, including a reorganization into four parts as follows: h Part A relates to transfer pricing in a global environment; h Part B contains guidance on design principles and policy considerations; this Part covers the substantive guidance on the arm’s length principle, with Chapter B.1. providing an overview, while Chapters B.2. to B.7. provide detailed discussion on the key topics. Chapter B.8. then demonstrates how some countries have established a legal framework to apply these principles; h Part C addresses practical implementation of a transfer pricing regime in developing countries; and h Part D contains country practices, similarly to Chapter 10 of the previous edition of the Manual. A new statement of Mexican country practices is included and other statements are updated; ¾ A new chapter on intra-group services; ¾ A new chapter on cost contribution arrangements; ¾ A new chapter on the treatment of intangibles; ¾ Significant updating of other chapters; and ¾ An index to make the contents more easily accessible The Foreword to the First Edition of this Manual, which is included below, remains relevant as to its substance. In particular, its recognition that: “While consensus has been sought as far as possible, it was considered most in accord with a practical manual to include some elements where consensus could not be reached, and it follows that specific views expressed in this Manual should not be ascribed to any particular persons involved in its drafting. [Part D]1 is different from other chapters in its conception, however. It represents an outline of particular country administrative practices as described in some detail by representatives from those countries, and it was not considered feasible or appropriate to seek a consensus on how such country practices were described.
OECD Taxation Working Papers N. 39 – Simplified registration and collection mechanisms for taxpayers that are not located in the jurisdiction of taxation
OECD Taxation Working Papers N. 39 – SIMPLIFIED REGISTRATION AND COLLECTION MECHANISMS FOR TAXPAYERS THAT ARE NOT LOCATED IN THE JURISDICTION OF TAXATION. A REVIEW AND ASSESSMENT. This paper reviews and evaluates the efficacy of simplified tax registration and collection mechanisms for securing compliance of taxpayers over which the jurisdiction with taxing rights has limited or no authority to effectively enforce a tax collection or other compliance obligation. Although the experience of jurisdictions in addressing this problem has involved primarily consumption taxes, that experience, and the lessons that can be learned from it, are applicable as well to other tax regimes that confront the same problem. Many jurisdictions have implemented (and are in the process of implementing) simplified registration and collection regimes in the business-to-consumer (B2C) context for taxpayers that are not located in the jurisdiction of taxation. Although the evidence regarding the performance of the simplified regimes adopted by jurisdictions is still quite limited, the best available evidence at present (in the European Union) indicates that simplified regimes can work well in practice and a high level of compliance can be achieved since there is a concentration of the overwhelming proportion of the revenues at stake in a relatively small proportion of large businesses and since the compliance burden has been reduced as far as possible. It also indicates that the adoption of thresholds may be an appropriate solution to avoid imposing a disproportionate administrative burden with respect to the collection of tax from small and micro-businesses in light of the relatively modest amount of revenues at stake and that a good communications strategy is essential to the success of a simplified regime (including appropriate lead time for implementation). In sum, simplified registration and collection regimes represent an effective approach to securing tax compliance when the jurisdiction has limited or no authority effectively to enforce a tax collection or other compliance obligation upon a taxpayer.
OECD SECRETARY-GENERAL REPORT TO G20 LEADERS – Since 2008, the G20 has made the fight against international tax fraud and avoidance a priority. Thanks to the support of Leaders and Finance Ministers, major progress has been achieved, demonstrating that international co-operation in a multilateral framework can support and strengthen national sovereignty. In my last report to you, at your meeting in Hamburg in 2017, I told you that we were about to bring to fruition the G20 mandate for the automatic exchange of financial account information (AEOI) with first exchanges to start in September 2017. It is estimated that by June 2018, jurisdictions around the globe have identified EUR 93 billion in additional revenue (tax, interest, penalties) as a result of voluntary compliance mechanisms and other offshore investigations put in place since 2009. AEOI is now happening in 83 jurisdictions that committed to exchange by 2018. Moreover, details on hundreds of billions of euros of accounts have been exchanged in 2017, the first year of operation of the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard. I reported on the outcome of your request to establish objective criteria to identify jurisdictions that were not implementing the tax transparency standards and the significant impact that this process had on encouraging jurisdictions to make changes. The OECD has now delivered strengthened criteria to be applied at the time of next year’s Summit and can report today that 15 jurisdictions are at risk of being identified. We are working with these jurisdictions and I will report to you at your Summit in 2019 on the progress made, along with a list of any jurisdictions that have not made enough progress. After the delivery of the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Package of 15 Actions, the key issue for the international tax community in 2018 remains how to address the tax challenges arising from digitalisation. In March, I delivered an Interim Report to Finance Ministers, providing an economic analysis of the features of the highly digitalised business models. It was agreed that, in spite of divergences on the consequences to draw, countries would seek a consensus based solution in a context where a number of governments feel urged to move to short term interim measures. Since March, the 124 members of the Inclusive Framework for BEPS Implementation, steered by G20 countries, have made significant progress to bridge the gaps in their position. Following the US tax reform, the United States has in particular agreed to engage in the search of a global solution which would address further challenges. Equally, France and Germany have now proposed to explore the feasibility of a global anti-base erosion mechanism. The United Kingdom made a proposal focussed on a reallocation of taxing rights based on active user contribution in some business models. Many other countries are now involved actively in this discussion. The G20 has an opportunity to seize the moment by maintaining the political focus on reaching a global, consensus-based solution. The Task Force will meet in December and the Inclusive Framework then meets in January to take these proposals further. A strong showing of unity and commitment to work together at the highest political level will be a key ingredient in finding the common ground that we are seeking. The Inclusive Framework will hold a second meeting in 2019 just before your next Leaders’ Summit. My hope is that at that Summit you will be able to celebrate an agreement on the what and how of a long-term solution to be delivered in 2020. These discussions are taking place against the back-drop of wide-spread implantation of the BEPS Package. In July last year the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS was up and running and the peer reviews of the minimum standards had begun. The first results from the peer reviews of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project are in and show strong implementation by the members of the BEPS Inclusive Framework. While the BEPS Project addresses double non-taxation, ensuring that international trade and investment does not face double taxation remains a priority. The OECD, in collaboration with the IMF, had produced a first report on tax certainty. In July we delivered an update on that report and look forward to taking this work forward with renewed emphasis. Our work on building capacity in developing countries is on-going, including support for the G20 Compact with Africa and our work through the Platform for Collaboration on Tax. We have continued to deliver a strong program of work in supporting capacity building in developing countries, particularly through the Platform for Collaboration (PCT) on Tax. Buenos Aires, Argentina. December 2018.
This report focuses on aggressive tax planning (ATP) schemes based on after-tax hedging. In general terms, after-tax hedging consists of taking opposite positions for an amount which takes into account the tax treatment of the results from those positions (gains or losses) so that, on an after-tax basis, the risk associated with one position is neutralised by the results from the opposite position. While after-tax hedging is not, of itself, aggressive – being generally a straightforward risk management technique – the report recognises that it can also be used as a feature of ATP schemes. ATP schemes based on after-tax hedging pose a threat to countries’ revenue base: empirical evidence suggests that hundreds of millions of USD are at stake, with a number of multi-billion USD transactions identified by certain countries. ATP schemes based on after-tax hedging originated in the banking sector, but experience shows that they are also used in other industries and, in some instances, also by medium-sized enterprises, thus generating an even bigger threat to tax revenue. It is therefore important that governments are aware of arrangements that use hedging for ATP purposes. The Report follows on from the 2011 OECD Report Corporate Loss Utilisation through Aggressive Tax Planning which recommends countries analyse the policy and compliance implications of after-tax hedges in order to evaluate the appropriate options available to address them. It was prepared by the ATP Steering Group of Working Party No. 10 on Exchange of Information and Tax Compliance of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs (CFA). The report builds on a number of country submissions to the OECD Directory on Aggressive Tax Planning where several ATP schemes based on after-tax hedging have been posted. After having discussed in general terms the notion of hedging as a risk management tool and the effect of taxation on hedging transactions, the report describes the features of ATP schemes based on after-tax hedging that have been encountered by a number of countries. In those schemes, taxpayers use after-tax hedging to earn a premium return, without actually bearing the associated risks, which is in effect passed on to the government. In all of these schemes there is generally no pre-existing exposure to hedge against but rather the exposure is created as part of the relevant scheme. ATP schemes based on after-tax hedging exploit the disparate tax treatment between the results (gain or loss) from the hedged transaction/risk on the one hand, and the results (gain or loss) from the hedging instrument on the other. In some of these schemes, the tax treatment of gains and losses arising from each transaction is symmetrical, while in others the tax treatment is asymmetrical. Other schemes rely on similar building blocks and are often structured around asymmetric swaps or other derivatives. ATP schemes based on after-tax hedging can exploit differences in tax treatment within one tax system and are in that sense mostly a domestic law issue. Any country that taxes the results of a hedging instrument differently from the results of the hedged transaction/risk is potentially exposed. The issue of after-tax hedging also arises in a cross-border context with groups of companies operating across different tax systems, which gives rise to additional challenges for tax administrations.