Strategizing International Tax Best Practices – by Keith Brockman

Archive for the ‘OECD’ Category

DAC6: Primer

McDermott Will & Emery’s (MWE) informative article presents basic reporting attributes for DAC6 reporting that may be a good reference tool in understanding this reporting quagmire, which seems to get deeper as more countries publish their rules and ordinary transactions are surfaced for inclusion to avoid penalties.

https://www.mwe.com/insights/top-10-things-you-need-to-know-about-dac6/

DAC6: Sweden is late, due date unchanged

The Swedish Government issued, on 4 February 2020, a final bill to Parliament implementing the European Union (EU) Directive on the mandatory disclosure and exchange of cross-border tax arrangements (referred to as DAC6 or the Directive).

An earlier draft was issued in December 2019, the final legislation is expected to be enacted in March 2020, and penalties apply after it goes into force July 1, 2020.

EU Member States were to adopt and publish national laws required to comply with the Directive by 31 December 2019. Sweden did not meet this deadline.  This major miss of the OECD deadlines for a complex, subjective and arguably far-reaching disclosure legislation brings forth the question: Why is there not a similar delay for implementation by taxpayers and reporting parties?  Unfortunately, the OECD has not provided any comments on this mismatch of Member State responsibilities and taxpayer obligations.

The scope of the taxes covered under the Swedish new draft legislation is fully aligned with the Directive and applies to all taxes except VAT, customs duties, excise duties and compulsory social security contributions.

In accordance with DAC6, the main benefit test (MBT) will be satisfied if it can be established that the main benefit or one of the main benefits which, having regard to all relevant facts and circumstances, a person may reasonably expect to derive from an arrangement, is the obtaining of a tax advantage.

The Government’s explanatory notes indicate that a “tax advantage” includes a tax advantage outside of Sweden (and there is no suggestion that such tax advantage must arise in respect of EU taxes).

The Government further concludes that there is no requirement that the tax advantage occurs during the current fiscal year, it can occur also in the future, for example, in the form of deferred taxation. It states, however, that it must be a tax advantage based on current rules.

DAC6 is complex, subjective and frustrating as each Member State applies their own interpretation of the final rules, as well as reporting formats.

Taxpayers with operations or transactions affecting Sweden, or other Member States, will likely over-report transactions for the initial period, and hope for further clarifications in the near future.  However, penalty consequences are so significant with respect to each (subjective) reportable arrangement that some companies may find it difficult to prove the negative – that each arrangement was reported timely.

https://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Sweden_issues_final_proposal_on_Mandatory_Disclosure_Rules_to_Parliament/$FILE/2020G_000817-20Gbl_Sweden%20issues%20final%20MDR%20proposal%20to%20Parliament.pdf

OECD update

The OECD report to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, resulting from the recent meeting in Riyadh this month, is attached for reference.

The report highlights that BEPS will continue to be a focus through 2025, indicating the increased transparency and reporting that is envisioned.

The recent issues of Pillar One and Two reflecting digital and global minimum taxation are addressed, based on the perception that these methodologies are a “must have” and not a “nice to have,” in the face of unilateral taxation efforts already underway.

http://www.oecd.org/tax/beps/oecd-secretary-general-tax-report-g20-finance-ministers-riyadh-saudi-arabia-february-2020.pdf

OECD: CbCR update

OECD has published the December 20109 update for implementation of country-by-country reporting (CbCR).

The table of contents conveniently provides the date for the updating of the relevant sections.  The local filing section indicates a December 2019 update.

The guidance link is referenced for review.

http://www.oecd.org/ctp/guidance-on-the-implementation-of-country-by-country-reporting-beps-action-13.pdf

OECD: Tax ruling exchange

The OECD/G20d BEPS Project has published: Harmful Tax Practices – 2018 Peer Review Reports on the Exchange of Information on Tax Rulings, referenced herein.  This is the third annual peer review of the transparency framework. It covers individual reports for 112 jurisdictions, including 20 jurisdictions reviewed for the first time.

The transparency framework requires spontaneous exchange of information on five categories of taxpayer-specific rulings: (i) rulings related to certain preferential regimes, (ii) unilateral advance pricing arrangements (APAs) or other cross-border unilateral rulings in respect of transfer pricing, (iii) rulings providing for a downward adjustment of taxable adjustment of taxable profits (iv) PE rulings and (v) related party conduit rulings.

The requirement to exchange information on the rulings in the above categories includes certain past rulings as well as future rulings, pursuant to pre-defined periods which are outlined in each jurisdiction’s report and that varies according to the time when a certain jurisdiction has joined the Inclusive Framework or has been identified as a Jurisdiction of Relevance. The exchanges occur pursuant to international exchange of information agreements, which provide the legal conditions under which exchanges take place, including the need to ensure taxpayer confidentiality.

 

https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/7cc5b1a2-en.pdf?expires=1577490104&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=E74BCF40FC3C25437B469E07971C928B

OECD: Pillar One & Two

The OECD has now two proposals in process: Pillar One addresses the digital economy and Pillar Two sets forth a global minimum tax system; global anti-base erosion (GloBE) proposal.  The proposals are linked herein for reference.

Both proposals may have one or more legal entities of a multinational taxed on more than one approach, whether they have a digital business segment, and also dependent on the countries where it is taxed notwithstanding the type of business it operates.

This represents a new era of BEPS, and one that demands attention to as the proposals move forward.

Pillar One summary

  • Scope. The approach covers highly digital business models but goes wider – broadly focusing on consumer-facing businesses with further work to be carried out on scope and carve-outs. Extractive industries are assumed to be out of the scope.
  • New Nexus. For businesses within the scope, it creates a new nexus, not dependent on physical presence but largely based on sales. The new nexus could have thresholds including country specific sales thresholds calibrated to ensure that jurisdictions with smaller economies can also benefit. It would be designed as a new self-standing treaty provision.
  • New Profit Allocation Rule going beyond the Arm’s Length Principle. It creates a new profit allocation rule applicable to taxpayers within the scope, and irrespective of whether they have an in-country marketing or distribution presence (permanent establishment or separate subsidiary) or sell via unrelated distributors. At the same time, the approach largely retains the current transfer pricing rules based on the arm’s length principle but complements them with formula based solutions in areas where tensions in the current system are the highest.
  • Increased Tax Certainty delivered via a Three Tier Mechanism. The approach increases tax certainty for taxpayers and tax administrations and consists of a three tier profit allocation mechanism, as follows:
  • ‒  Amount A – a share of deemed residual profit6 allocated to market jurisdictions using a formulaic approach, i.e. the new taxing right
  • ‒  Amount B – a fixed remuneration for baseline marketing and distribution functions that take place in the market jurisdiction; and
  • ‒  Amount C – binding and effective dispute prevention and resolution mechanisms relating to all elements of the proposal, including any additional profit where in-country functions exceed the baseline activity compensated under Amount B.

Pillar Two Summary

Under Pillar Two, the Members of the Inclusive Framework have agreed to explore an approach that leaves jurisdictions free to determine their own tax system, including whether they have a corporate income tax and where they set their tax rates, but considers the right of other jurisdictions to apply the rules explored further below where income is taxed at an effective rate below a minimum rate. Within this context, and on a without prejudice basis, the members of the Inclusive Framework have agreed a programme of work that contains exploration of an inclusion rule, a switch over rule, an undertaxed payment rule, and a subject to tax rule. They have further agreed to explore, as part of this programme of work, issues related to rule co-ordination, simplification, thresholds, compatibility with international obligations and any other issues that may emerge in the course of the work.

Members of the Inclusive Framework agree that any rules developed under this Pillar should not result in taxation where there is no economic profit nor should they result in double taxation.

This part sets out the global anti-base erosion (GloBE) proposal which seeks to address remaining BEPS risk of profit shifting to entities subject to no or very low taxation It first provides background including the proposed rationale for the proposal and then summarises the mechanics of the proposed rules together with a summary of the issues that will be explored as part of the programme of work.

While the measures set out in the BEPS package have further aligned taxation with value creation and closed gaps in the international tax architecture that allowed for double non-taxation, certain members of the Inclusive Framework consider that these measures do not yet provide a comprehensive solution to the risk that continues to arise from structures that shift profit to entities subject to no or very low taxation. These members are of the view that profit shifting is particularly acute in connection with profits relating to intangibles, prevalent in the digital economy, but also in a broader context; for instance group entities that are financed with equity capital and generate profits, from intra-group financing or similar activities, that are subject to no or low taxes in the jurisdictions where those entities are established.

 

https://www.oecd.org/tax/beps/public-consultation-document-secretariat-proposal-unified-approach-pillar-one.pdf

https://www.oecd.org/tax/beps/programme-of-work-to-develop-a-consensus-solution-to-the-tax-challenges-arising-from-the-digitalisation-of-the-economy.pdf

US int’l developments

Proposed Regulations were issued for cloud computing and digital transactions; this is an especially important area re: sourcing of income, definitions, etc. especially in light of France and others looking to implement a digital services tax.

Publication 5188 was revised re: FATCA data reporting.

OECD released Peer 2 review reports re: re: BEPS Action 14 (dispute resolution).  Interestingly, some US treaties include a MAP provision, although not all are consistent with the minimum standard.

https://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Report_on_recent_US_international_tax_developments_-_16_August_2019/$FILE/2019G_003793-19Gbl_Report%20on%20recent%20US%20international%20tax%20developments%20-%2016%20Aug%202019.pdf

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