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Chapter 16 International Taxation Issues. International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Transfer Pricing.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 16 International Taxation Issues. International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Transfer Pricing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 16 International Taxation Issues

2 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Transfer Pricing and Motorola Motorola, one of the world’s largest mobile-phone companies, has operations that span across the world. As such, it has control over transfer prices between its operations in different countries. In August of 2004, Motorola announced that the Internal Revenue Service was seeking an extra $500M in taxes from the company. The IRS claims that Motorola set transfer prices in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes. They claim Motorola should have had an additional $1.4 billion in U.S. income during the period. As such, the IRS might force Motorola to make adjustments that would shift profit from other countries to the U.S.

3 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black International Tax Issues What kind of revenue is taxable? How are expenses determined? Should direct or indirect taxes be used? How are cultural differences and attitudes toward enforcement accounted for?

4 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Direct Taxes Corporate Income Tax – Two Approaches Classic System Income taxed when received Earnings are taxed twice Integrated Systems Attempt to eliminate double taxation Two ways to integrate  Rate split between income and for profits distributed (Germany)  Imputation – tax remitted earnings and dividend earnings at the same rate, but shareholders get a tax credit (as in EU) Corporate income taxes have come down recently

5 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black OECD and EU Average Corporate Tax Rates

6 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Two Methods Territorial approach Tax income earned in the country where it is generated (Hong Kong) Worldwide approach Tax both domestic and foreign source income Some countries alleviate burden with tax credits, treaties, and deferral of foreign source income

7 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Determination of Expenses Expenses are usually a matter of timing As useful lives of assets differ, tax burdens differ Statutory tax rates and effective tax rates differ due to Determination of expenses Tax base Broadened with U.S. Tax Reform Act of 1986 Other OECD countries broadened tax bases in 1980s

8 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Withholding Tax Income earned by a foreign subsidiary is taxed in the foreign country Cash returns to the parent are made for dividends and the use of patents, trademarks, processes, etc. Normally a tax is levied on payments by a subsidiary to a non resident investor Tax varies from country to country Depends on existence of tax treaties

9 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Indirect Taxes Most important source of government revenue in some countries (France) Examples Consumption (sales) taxes Value Added Tax (VAT) Excise Taxes Estate and Gift Taxes Employment Taxes User Fees

10 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Indirect Taxes Value Added Tax Major source of funding for the EU Tax is applied at each stage of production for the value added by the firm to goods purchased from the outside Tax burden ultimately falls on the consumer Major method of computation – subtractive method Tax included in price of goods

11 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Computation of VAT

12 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Avoidance of Double Taxation of Foreign Source Income Credits and Deductions Must be an income tax to be creditable (U.S.) Tax credits are only available for taxes directly paid by the U.S. corporation

13 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Tax Deduction vs. Tax Credit

14 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Avoidance of Double Taxation of Foreign Source Income Tax Treaties Minimize the effect of double taxation Protect each country’s right to collect taxes Provide ways to resolve jurisdictional issues Tend to reduce or eliminate taxes on dividends, interest, and royalty payments Model Tax Treaty was approved by the U.S. in – U.S. and Canada sign a tax treaty Reduces tax rates on payments of dividends, interest, and royalties

15 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black U.S. Taxation of Foreign Source Income The Tax Haven Concept Tax haven – a place where foreigners receive income or assets without paying high rates of tax upon them Mailbox companies have sprung up in Liechtenstein, Vanuatu, Netherlands Antilles Countries with no income tax include Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands Countries with low tax rates (British Virgin Islands) Countries that exempt income from foreign sources Hong Kong, Liberia, Panama Countries that allow special privileges

16 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black U.S. Taxation of Foreign Source Income The Tax Haven Concept Goal is to shift income from high tax to tax haven countries Usually accomplished by using a tax haven subsidiary as an intermediary Income shifting is generally accomplished by transfer pricing May countries are concerned about minimizing the use of tax havens OECD plans to impose sanctions on countries offering “harmful” tax competition

17 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black U.S. Taxation of Foreign Source Income Deferral principle – income is deferred from U.S. taxation until it is received as a dividend Exceptions to this principle – Subpart F income of a Controlled Foreign Corporation (CFC) A CFC is a foreign corporation in which “U.S. shareholders” hold more than 50% of the voting stock U.S. shareholder – a person or enterprise that holds at least 10 percent of the voting stock of the foreign corporation

18 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black U.S. Taxation of Foreign Source Income Revenue Act of 1962 defined Subpart F income as passive income Subpart F income is divided into eight groups Insurance of U.S. risks – income from parents is taxable to the parent when earned by the CFC Foreign-base company personal holding company income – dividends, interest, royalties and other income from holding rights Foreign-base company sales income – income from the sale or purchase of goods produced and consumed outside the country where the CFC is incorporated Foreign-base company services income – income from contracts utilizing technical, managerial, engineering, or other skills

19 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black U.S. Taxation of Foreign Source Income

20 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black U.S. Taxation of Foreign Source Income Subpart F income is divided into eight groups Foreign-base company shipping income – income from using aircraft or ships for transportation outside the country where the CFC is incorporated Foreign-base company oil-related income – income from large oil or natural gas producers in a country outside where the CFC is incorporated Boycott-related income – income from operations resulting from countries involved in certain international boycotts (such as Arab boycott of Israel) Foreign bribes – brides paid to foreign government officials

21 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black U.S. Taxation of Foreign Source Income Implications of Subpart F Income For CFCs active income is deferred, but passive income must be recognized when earned Exception – if foreign-based income of a CFC is less than 5% of gross income of $1 million, none of it is Subpart F income Essentially an American phenomenon

22 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Tax Effects of Foreign Exchange Gains or Losses Gains and losses from foreign currency transactions are ordinary and are recognized when realized Gains or losses cannot be recognized while foreign currency balances are being held IRS treats foreign currency transactions from the two-transactions perspective IRS does not recognize gains and losses until obligation has been settled

23 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Tax Effects of Foreign Exchange Gains or Losses U.S. tax law introduced the Qualified Business Unit (QBU) – a trade or business for which separate books are kept QBU earnings are divided into two parts Earnings distributed back to home office Translated at exchange rate on date of transfer Earnings retained in foreign office Translated at average exchange rate (profit-and-loss approach) Foreign Exchange Gain = Distribution X (AR-ER) Total branch profits in parent income includes the foreign exchange gain Tax credit is computed using ER, the effective exchange rate at the time the taxes were paid

24 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Taxable Earnings from Foreign Corporations Foreign subsidiaries are not taxed until a dividend is declared, so the parent company does not have to translate statements into $ Controlled Foreign Corporation Same rules apply to non-Subpart F income as per a non-CFC situation Subpart-F income – a constructive dividend has been declared at year-end, so translation into $ is necessary

25 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Tax Incentives Two major types Incentives to attract foreign investors Usually involve tax holidays Example – Brazilian government provides a 10 year holiday to invest in the northeast and Amazon regions Incentives to encourage exports EU – many export products are zero rated – no VAT  Firms can offer products at lower prices U.S. and U.K. offer reductions in or eliminations of property taxes for investments

26 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Tax Incentives Foreign Sales Corporation Act of 1984 replaced the Domestic International Sales Corporation (DISC) legislation of 1972 DISC income was taxed to its shareholders at a reduced rate The FSC was established in response to criticism that the DISC was just a paper shell WTO ruled that the FSC incorrectly applied the territorial approach only to the export segment of foreign source income FSCs were phased out by 2001

27 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Tax Dimensions of Expatriates Finding of survey by Business International U.S. is the only country from the sample that taxes expatriates on worldwide income U.S. does provide some relief through the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion Foreign country must be their tax home Must have foreign income Citizen of another country or present for entire tax year or 330 days out of any 12 consecutive months

28 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Intracorporate Transfer Pricing Transfer pricing – the pricing of goods and services between all combinations of parents and subsidiaries Transfer pricing is often used to take advantage of tax havens Factors influencing transfer pricing decisions (Tang survey, 1992) Corporate profitability Differential tax rates Restrictions on repatriation of profits or dividends Competitive position of foreign subsidiaries

29 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Intracorporate Transfer Pricing “The Corporate Shell Game” – Newsweek Newsweek magazine gave an overly simplistic, hypothetical example of a U.S. company that manufactured goods through its German subsidiary and sold them to its Irish subsidiary, which in turn sold the goods back to the U.S. parent company. The goods were manufactured at a cost of $80 by the German subsidiary and sold for the same amount to the Irish subsidiary. Even though the tax rate in Germany is 45 percent, there is no tax on the transaction. The Irish subsidiary then sells the goods to the U.S. parent for $150, earning a profit of $70. Because the tax rate in Ireland is only 4 percent for that transaction, the Irish subsidiary pays only $2.80 in tax. The U.S. parent then sells the goods for $150, earning no profit and paying no tax, even though the U.S. tax rate is 35 percent. Thus, the U.S. company ends up paying only $2.80 in income taxes, and this amount is paid in Ireland.

30 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Intracorporate Transfer Pricing Transfer pricing has become increasingly important with the increase in MNEs Ernst and Young Transfer Pricing 2003 Global Survey Results 86% of MNE parent companies and 93% of subsidiaries identified transfer pricing as the most important international tax issue they deal with If companies must make an adjustment, 1 in 3 with be threatened with a penalty and 1 in 7 will pay a penalty 40% of adjustments result in double taxation Sales of goods are the most audited, while audits of services and intangibles are increasing

31 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Intracorporate Transfer Pricing U.S. Rules Section 482 of IRS code governs transfer pricing IRS may reallocate income, deductions, credits, and allowances if it feels tax evasion is occurring Transactions must be at “arm’s length” IRS is concerned with five areas Loans and Advances Performance of services Use of tangible property Use of intangible property Sale of tangible property

32 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Intracorporate Transfer Pricing Methods for Determining Arm’s Length Prices For tangible property there are six methods Comparable uncontrollable price method – market price determines transfer price Resale price method – used if comparable uncontrollable price method cannot be used Comparable profits method – less common Cost-plus method – costs of manufacturing plus a normal profit margin Profits split method – less common Other methods – less common

33 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Tax Planning in the International Environment Choice of Methods of Serving Foreign Markets Exports of goods and services and technology Should the firm service products for the parent country or abroad? Consider the benefits of a sales office abroad If licensing technology, be aware of withholding taxes and relevant tax treaties Branch operations Good to open a branch office at first to offset home country income with foreign losses Branch remittances are not usually subject to withholding taxes

34 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Tax Planning in the International Environment Choice of Methods of Serving Foreign Markets Foreign Subsidiaries Income is sheltered from taxation in home country until a dividend is remitted (except for passive income of a CFC) Cannot recognize losses by the subsidiary in the parent company More valuable after start-up years

35 International Accounting & Multinational Enterprises – Chapter 16 – Radebaugh, Gray, Black Tax Planning in the International Environment Factors on Location of Foreign Operations Tax Incentives Can reduce cash outflow of an investment project Tax Rates Tax Treaties Example – Withholding tax between U.S. and U.K. is 15%, but both countries have 5% withholding agreement with the Netherlands An arrangement could be made to send dividends from the U.K. to Holland, then to the U.S., and the 15% tax would be partially avoided Tax planning decisions should not crowd out management control and other essential issues


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