Strategizing International Tax Best Practices – by Keith Brockman

HMRC has provided a technical consultation and explanatory memorandum for new regulations of UK’s country-by-country (CbC) reporting.  Comments are due by 16 Nov. 2015.  A link is provided for reference:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technical-consultation-country-by-country-reporting

An interesting, and debatable, provision is Section 9 of the technical consultation, Provision for information, which is copied herein.  To the extent that a company is considered a “reporting entity,” the provision provides for a request of information, that may reasonably be required, (within 14 days in a form specified by HMRC) to substantiate the accuracy of the CbC report.  

On the heels of the OECD release of the Action Items, including Action 13 CbC reporting, HMRC has released this documentation for consultation.  However, Section 9 may be far-reaching in that there is no transparency into the intent of HMRC or purpose of such potential request.

For example, does this exercise include the accuracy of all entities included in the CbC report?  What type of documentation would be requested, and in what form?  Should the request be limited to UK entities only?  If there are potential inaccuracies in countries other than the UK, what happens then?  What transparency is provided for this process?  Will this request be reviewed prior to informing the taxpayer?  Will such review be shared with other countries?

This provision seems to be far-reaching, and could be followed by other countries.  Therefore, it is paramount that all multinationals monitor such developments, as this will significantly increase complexity.

Provision of information

9.—(1) An officer of Revenue and Customs may, by notice in writing, require a reporting entity to provide the officer with such information (including copies of any relevant books, documents or other records) as the officer may reasonably require for the purposes of determining whether information contained in a country-by-country report filed by that entity is accurate.

(2) A notice under paragraph (1) may specify or describe the information to be provided.

(3) Where a person is required to provide information under paragraph (1), the person must do so—

  1. (a)  within such period, being no less than 14 days; and
  2. (b)  at such time, by such means and in such form (if any),

as is reasonably specified or described by Revenue and Customs.

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