The UK Diverted Profits Tax proposal (refer to 12 December 2014 post) will become effective in April, 2015. The Parliament debate sheds light on the intentions for such tax, as well as the assumptions (true or false) underlying this initiative.
The debate clarifies that such “tax” is not meant to be a tax that meets the definition of a tax for double tax treaty purposes, therefore it is subject to domestic legislation and not overridden by its treaty network. This rationale therefore leads to the premise that it may not qualify as a tax subject to a US Foreign Tax Credit, resulting in a double “tax” situation regardless of the nomenclature. Additionally, the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) provided for in a double tax treaty would not be available for recourse.
The tax is aggressive in its timing, ahead of the final OECD proposals and in contrast to other initiatives for which the UK is awaiting final BEPS guidance. The debate highlights the cynicism about the OECD process, thus providing a rationale for unilateral legislation sooner vs. later. Additionally, this proposal was discussed as a Targeted Anti-Avoidance Rule (TAAR), which is in addition to the EU and UK General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR).
Most importantly, a diverted profit tax situation involves an initial recharacterization assessment by HMRC, requiring payment by the taxpayer, with appeals to follow later – a “Pay Now, Talk Later” approach.
The clock is ticking and time is winding down with alot of questions remaining unanswered. The debate is provided for reference:
It is very useful to review the Intent of new laws to form a better understanding for the formation of such initiatives, as well as comprehension into the foresight of drafters re: possible appeals by the European Commission and/or European Court of Justice.