Strategizing International Tax Best Practices – by Keith Brockman

Archive for March, 2018

US news: Phase 2 tax bill?

The latest US / OECD developments are detailed in the referenced EY Global Tax Alert, highlighting  a potential second tax bill (apart from technical corrections), status on the “Blue Book: by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, Q&A IRS release re: Section 965 including how to pay the first estimate and report on the US federal income tax return, anti-corporate inversion regulations, and OECD’s Interim Report of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), titled “Tax Challenges Arising from Digitalisation.”  Additionally, OECD released the third batch of peer reports – Certainly an exciting and challenging time!

There are still many areas of debate and room for reasonable interpretation on major aspects of the US Tax Act, especially as the 2018 provisions of BEAT, FDII and GILTI are not encased within the one-year measurement period of SAB 118.  For companies subject to Q1 reporting, these uncertainties should be aligned with the auditor to avoid last-minute debates for material items.$FILE/2018G_01558-181Gbl_Report%20on%20recent%20US%20international%20tax%20developments%20-%2016%20March%202018.pdf

UK: MAP guidance

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the UK tax authority, has published revised guidance on the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) in its International Manual (INTM).  DLA Piper’s detailed publication is referenced herein.

The revised guidance, together with the supplementary Statement of Practice, provides detailed information on the following:

  • Eligibility for MAP
  • Access to MAP
  • Submitting a MAP request
  • Time limits
  • Protective MAP requests
  • MAP and domestic relief
  • Mutual agreement
  • Methods of relief and
  • Arbitration

Multinationals ought to consider more proactive use of the improved MAP, taken together with similar developments in other countries around the BEPS minimum standards, as a viable compliance risk management tool. Although double taxation is often a precondition in transfer pricing cases that end up in MAP, it is important to note that all issues concerning taxation not in accordance with tax treaties are eligible for MAP.


OECD: Model CRS disclosures

The Model Mandatory Disclosure Rules for CRS Avoidance Arrangements and Opaque Offshore Structures contained in the referenced report were approved by the Committee of Fiscal Affairs (CFA) on 8 March 2018.  These represent Best Practices.

15 July 2014 the OECD published the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters, also known as the Common Reporting Standard or CRS. Since then 102 jurisdictions have committed to its implementation in time to commence exchanges in 2017 or 2018.

The report includes CRS disclosure rules and related penalty requirements.

One of the most discussed aspects of the new report is the following:

  • Rule 2.7: Disclosure of Arrangements entered into after 29 October 2014 and

    before the effective date of these rules

    1. (a)  A Promoter shall disclose a CRS Avoidance Arrangement within 180 days of the effective date of these rules where:
      1. (i)  that Arrangement was implemented on or after 29 October 2014 but before the effective date of these rules; and
      2. (ii)  that person was a Promoter in respect of that Arrangement;

      irrespective of whether that person provides Relevant Services in respect of that Arrangement after the effective date.

Most importantly, “jurisdictions implementing these model rules would need to take into account domestic specificities in their own CRS Legislation and the interaction of these model rules with existing anti-avoidance rules.”

The hallmark for a CRS Avoidance Arrangement captures any Arrangement where it is reasonable to conclude that it has been designed to circumvent, or has been marketed as or has the effect of circumventing CRS Legislation.

To the extent such rules may be applicable, this new report should be reviewed in its entirety to understand potential disclosure requirements in a timely manner.

US developments: Will FDII survive?

EY’s Global Tax Alert summarizes recent US developments, including (expected) pushback by the EU from the Tax Act’s FDII legislation.  The pushback is based upon WTO rules and OECD’s Article 24 on non-discrimination.

One elemental argument against the Foreign Derived Intangible Income (FDII) legislation is that it violates the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

“The tax press is reporting that the EU has requested that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Forum on Harmful Tax Practices conduct a “fast track” review of certain of the TCJA’s provisions. The request reportedly came after a meeting of EU Finance Ministers in which the Ministers discussed how to react to the tax reform law and whether to take action in the WTO.  According to the report, a recent EU document states that the new base erosion and anti-abuse tax may contravene the OECD Model Tax Convention’s Article 24 on non-discrimination.”

To the extent that the FDII is found to violate the WTO rules, the timing for this benefit is a short-term (i.e. 3-5 years) period.  Accordingly, relevant restructuring may avail this benefit in the next few years with a long-term strategy based on its revocation.$FILE/2018G_01364-181Gbl_Report%20on%20recent%20US%20international%20tax%20developments%20-%209%20March%202018.pdf

Italy; electronic invoicing

The wave of electronic invoicing has arrived for Italy, with B2B transactions commencing in 2019.

As EY’s Global Tax Alert details, companies should begin to assess procedures for normal accounts payable/receivable transactions, etc.

This is the wave of the future, so ERP systems should be reviewed (or external vendors sought) to perform this function timely.$FILE/2018G_01269-181Gbl_Indirect_Italian%20Budget%20Law%20introduces%20mandatory%20E-invoicing.pdf

Belgian Fairness Tax lesson: Appeal early

The EY Global Alert link highlights the fact that the former Belgian Fairness Tax was determined to violate:

  • Principle of legality
  • Article 4, Parent-Subsidiary Directive
  • Constitutional principles of equality and non-discrimination

Despite these multiple violations of law, the principle of equality was limited to assessments commencing in 2019, with limited exception.

Most importantly, the lesson learned from this not-uncommon example is: Appeal early to preserve your legal rights; as courts may not preserve such rights in their final decision.$FILE/2018G_01226-181Gbl_Belgian%20Constitutional%20Court%20annuls%20Fairness%20tax.pdf

European Holdco’s: Summary

Deloitte’s link, updated in January 2018, provides a useful reference for attributes of EU holding companies from different countries.

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