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OECD & BEPS Stephen Coleclough President CIOT Dubai Inaugural Meeting 28 April 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "OECD & BEPS Stephen Coleclough President CIOT Dubai Inaugural Meeting 28 April 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 OECD & BEPS Stephen Coleclough President CIOT Dubai Inaugural Meeting 28 April 2014

2 Background Base erosion and profit shifting The 15 action plans What should you be doing? Agenda

3 OECD model treaty has always favoured capital exporting countries to the detriment of capital importing countries Tax competition between developed economies has given MNEs the opportunity to not pay tax on profits In the case of the USA, due to active CFC active income rules and check the box, holding companies in tax havens are treated as active traders. This allows US HQ’d MNEs to compete outside the US tax free (surely and unlawful export subsidy) BEPS - background

4 Background Internet – mail order, digital down loads, cost reduction, volume Transparency – follows on from digitisation and low cost of processing – data is available. Data The rise of the “sovereign” MNE SME’s - ‹5% of EU SME’s operate in more than one M.S.(post internet) USA – export means the next state. Technology – v – having to be physically present/people buy people OECD rules, designed to eliminate double traxation but… result is no taxation

5 Background cont… Globalisation – nothing new – and look at Roman Empire (render unto Caesar) look at British Empire and 1776! Customs – movement of goods – Tariff and WTO EU, NAFTA, ASEAN, etc. Power to raise taxes – statehood.

6 Companies and International taxation In the beginning…. A US coffee shop opens in Germany US Co could have a German branch and a shop or a German subsidiary. German corporation taxes and Trade Taxes due (plus payroll taxes plus VAT etc). US tax payable after credit for German corporate tax Next result, bulk of tax in Germany, possible nil tax in USA. But what if… ?

7 US coffee shop What if US Co sets up a US Brand Co which charges royalty for brand to German Co? What if US Co sets up Irish Co managed in US to charge royalty to German Co? What if US Co sells coffee to German Co via a Swiss Co at 20% mark up (coffee goes nowhere near Switzerland)? And what about debt funding? What if US Co puts all its trading companies under a Lux Co held by a Gibraltar Co held by a Bermuda Co? US CFE apportionment of royalty and dividend income?

8 US coffee shop cont.. No CFC apportionment because through check the box the royalty and dividend flows disappear and the Bermudan holdco becomes an active trading company. Net result a system designed to stop both the US & German governments taxing means no tax is paid.

9 So.... From this To this... US Co German CO US Co Bermuda Co Gibraltar Co Luxemburg Sarl Swiss Coffee Co German Distribution Co Lux Fin CoGerman Co Irish Co Managed in USA Lux Downloads co Buy Sell

10 But don’t need to litigate, there is the BEPS consultation Action by capital importing countries now? Transparency and information exchange is the key. Once the whole value chain is visible to tax authorities, some parts will be hard to sustain. BEPS - background

11 1 Addressing the tax challenges of the digital economy (V) 2 Neutralise the effect of hybrid mismatch arrangements 3 Strengthen CFC rules 4 Limit base erosion via interest deductions and other financial payments 5 Counter harmful tax practices more effectively, taking into account transparency and substance (V) 6 Prevent treaty abuse 7 Prevent the artificial avoidance of PE status (V) 8 Assure that transfer pricing outcomes are in line with value creations – intangibles, 9 Risks and capital, 10 Other high risk transactions (V) (C) The 15 action plans

12 11 Establish methodologies to collect and analyse data on BEPS and the actions to address it 12 Require taxpayers to disclose their aggressive tax planning arrangements 13 Re-examine transfer pricing documentation (V) (C) 14 Make dispute resolution mechanisms more effective (MAP) 15 Develop a multilateral instrument (V) (C) The 15 action points

13 1 Addressing the tax challenges of the digital economy Touches also on 7 Prevent the artificial avoidance of PE status 8 Assure that transfer pricing outcomes are in line with value creations – intangibles, 9 Risks and capital, 10 Other high risk transactions Grouping the action plans

14 Ensuring coherence (2 to 5) 2 Neutralise the effect of hybrid mismatch arrangements 3 Strengthen CFC rules 4 Limit base erosion via interest deductions and other financial payments 5 Counter harmful tax practices more effectively, taking into account transparency and substance Grouping the action plans

15 Reforming international standards (6 to 10) 6 Prevent treaty abuse 7 Prevent the artificial avoidance of PE status 8 Assure that transfer pricing outcomes are in line with value creations – intangibles 9 Risks and capital 10 Other high risk transactions Grouping the action plans

16 Improving Transparency and Certainty (11 – 15) 11 Establish methodologies to collect and analyse data on BEPS and the actions to address it 12 Require taxpayers to disclose their aggressive tax planning arrangements 13 Re-examine transfer pricing documentation 14 Make dispute resolution mechanisms more effective 15 Develop a multilateral instrument Grouping the action plans

17 1 Addressing the tax challenges of the digital economy 2 Neutralise the effect of hybrid mismatch arrangements 6 Prevent treaty abuse 13 Re-examine transfer pricing documentation Timing – September 2014

18 3 Strengthen CFC rules 7 Prevent the artificial avoidance of PE status 8 Assure that transfer pricing outcomes are in line with value creations – intangibles – 9 Risks and capital – 10 Other high risk transactions 11 Establish methodologies to collect and analyse data on BEPS and the actions to address it 12 Require taxpayers to disclose their aggressive tax planning arrangements 13 Re-examine transfer pricing documentation 14 Make dispute resolution mechanisms more effective Timing – September 2015

19 4 Limit base erosion via interest deductions and other financial payments 5 Counter harmful tax practices more effectively, taking into account transparency and substance 15 Develop a multilateral instrument Timing December 2015

20 As tax advisers you have to – Ensure clients know what their tax liabilities and risks are – Advise them of all lawful opportunities to reduce their tax exposure and any associated risks, including adverse reaction from media and consumers – Observe duties of confidentiality and their right to privacy What should you be doing?

21 As professional bodies I think you should… – Consult with your clients and governments – Lobby for local changes in advance of or in anticipation of BEPS which are fair and workable – Make your views known both direct to OECD and via your government – Your government will need your technical and practical knowledge to understand the realities and rebut the assumption that tax is paid somewhere sometime What should you be doing?

22 Stephen Coleclough LL.B. (Hons), CTA (Fellow), FIIT, ATT, FInstCPD, FRSA, Solicitor, TEP Contact – – – Questions?


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