The Swiss continue to cave in and erode any bastion of bank secrecy within its picture perfect borders. The Swiss Parliament voted on March 6, 2014 to turn over information to foreign governments on certain account holders with undeclared accounts in Swiss financial institutions without providing the holders any advance notice of the disclosure. The move was in reaction to the 2011 admonishment to Switzerland by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes to take measures to increase its tax transparency. If Switzerland took no action, it risked being placed on a global blacklist. The Global Forum is a division of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (commonly referred to as “OECD”). We understand that the amendment must be finally approved at the end of the current Swiss legislative Read more
Tag Archive for OECD
Pat McGrath of Australia’s national broadcaster ABC News reports that “About 100 Tax Office staff have begun a four year investigation into the tax affairs of big companies global companies operating in Australia.” (sic)
In an interview with Pat McGrath, Mark Konza (ATO Deputy Commissioner) said: “At the moment – and I should say this process is ongoing, so other cases will be identified over time – these 86 cases where we felt that the structuring events that had taken place seem to have a very bad effect on a company’s Australian tax position…”. Deputy Commissioner Konza continued, “We will issue assessments on companies that we think weren’t applying the law correctly. If they’re involved in profit shifting, they’ll get an assessment; they’ll get penalties as well.” Read more
Evaluation of Senator Suggestions for the Blank Slate Project
As noted in my 9/9/13 post, I’m going to summarize and analyze proposals senators offered to the Senate Finance Committee, and that the senator made public. Despite falling behind on my project, as tax reform likely heats up in 2014, I’m back at it as I’d like to look at and share what might be a broader array of proposals and issues. In no particular order, the second set of suggestions I’m commenting on are from Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) (7/26/13 letter). Senator Rockefeller is a member of the Senate Finance Committee.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released a new single global common reporting standard for the automatic exchange of information between tax authorities worldwide, intended to help fight cross-border tax evasion.
This document was approved and declassified by the Committee on Fiscal Affairs (“CFA”) on 17 January, 2014 and contains the global standard for automatic exchange of financial account information. It has been developed by the OECD, working with G20 countries, and in close co-operation with the EU.
• Part I contains the introduction to the standard and
• Part II contains the text of the Model Competent Authority Agreement (CAA) and the Read more
The OECD has just published its draft of “A Model Template of Country-by-Country Reporting” that would require companies for the first time to provide tax administrations with exhaustive details of how they allocate their income, taxes, and business activities on a country-by-country basis.
On July 19, 2013 BEPS Action Plan, the OECD was directed to “develop rules regarding transfer pricing documentation to enhance transparency for tax administration, taking into account the compliance costs for business.
The rules to be developed will include a requirement that MNE’s provide all relevant governments with needed information on their global allocation of the income, economic Read more
A spokeswoman for Australia’s Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos has indicated that tax-base erosion and profit shifting will be a key focus of the G20 during Australia’s Presidency.
In this connection, speaking before he left for this week’s Davos conference, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said “We want to … try to ensure we have less leaky national taxation systems”.
Commentators have variously encouraged the Prime Minister to push for the publication of taxable incomes of transnational companies by local tax authorities, seek a global solution to the perceived problem and to work within the OECD tax treaty framework to Read more
Commentators and practitioners often refer to the United States controlled foreign corporation statute (“CFC”) as extremely complex and Byzantine in their construction and application. I would agree with this assessment to a point; if someone is simply trying to learn the pure mechanics of the statute then, yes, it is very difficult to fathom. However, when one looks at the rules after understanding the underlying policy for their implementation and overall effect, the statutory scheme becomes easier to comprehend. So, let’s begin with an explanation of why the United States (and other developed, OECD countries) put these types of rules into place.
To begin we will need to know a few definitions from section 7701. A domestic corporation is Read more
The current tax rules underpinning practically every tax code around the globe are derived from a “bricks and mortar” or manufacturing based economy. What this means is the underlying concepts were developed when all world economies were based on building physical products that were bought and sold (think industrial revolution). For example, the tax treaty phrase “permanent establishment” was actually developed by League of Nation’s negotiators during their preliminary discussions to develop a working tax treaty framework. Compare this to today’s digital economy where “products” are actually multiple lines of computer code that exist in cyber-space (or a trademark or patented item) or where a “store front” (the old “permanent establishment”) is in fact a web site located halfway around the globe on a server in a tax haven. This mismatch between the underlying concepts of the old Read more
On July 13, the OECD issued a new paper titled, Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. The purpose of this paper was to outline the OECD’s new round of concerns regarding tax havens and their use in international tax planning. It is important to understand first what is behind the issuing of this new report:
Over time, the current rules have also revealed weaknesses that create opportunities for BEPS. BEPS relates chiefly to instances where the interaction of different tax rules leads to double non-taxation or less than single taxation.
One of the central purposes of the OECD’s original tax treaty was to divide taxing rights and Read more
As discussed in Part I, “What Is A Tax Haven“, the OECD originally went after tax havens in a 1998 document titled, Harmful Tax Competition, An Emerging Global Issue. They defined a tax haven as a low or no tax jurisdiction that employs secrecy and does not exchange information with other taxing officials. To counter-act the effect of havens, the OECD proposed a number of options. There are several that stand out.
Recommendation concerning Controlled Foreign Corporations (CFC) or equivalent rules: that countries that do not have such rules consider adopting them and that countries that have such rules ensure that they apply in a fashion consistent with the desirability of curbing harmful tax practices. Read more
Recently, the OECD ramped up its conflict with tax havens by issuing a report titled, Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Sharing. Obviously, the purpose of this report is to provide a set of options that OECD countries can enact to counter the negative impact of tax base erosion, or the shifting of tax revenue away from developed/higher tax countries to lower tax/tax havens. But before I get to the report, a bit of background is necessary to provide some context to the conflict.
First, how did tax havens develop? As I noted in a post I wrote on my economic blog about the Cyprus situation:
Yesterday we looked at dependent agents and their ability on the treaty to create a permanent establishment for an enterprise. Today I’ll be looking at independent agents, which do not lead to the determination of a permanent establishment for tax purposes and hence do not create a tax presence.
The commentaries provide this general definition to begin the discussion:
37. A person will come within the scope of paragraph 6, i.e. he will not constitute a permanent establishment of the enterprise on whose behalf he acts only if
a) he is independent of the enterprise both legally and economically, and Read more