The South African Revenue Service (SARS) released its final notice re: requirements for filing the Country-by-Country (CbC) report, Master File and Local File, in alignment with OECD BEPS Action Item 13.
It is interesting that, pursuant to minimum thresholds, both a Master File and Local File are required to be filed, rather than only the Local File. This may become more of a norm, versus an exception, as the global transfer pricing and risk environment will need to be reviewed in alignment with local business operations. Hopefully, the review will encompass confidential limitations on the information received and will only encompass transfer pricing practices of the local operations rather than extend CbC presumptions or Master File analogies against the local data.
EY’s Global Tax Alert provides the relevant details of the SARS requirement.
OECD has published new handbooks, one of which relates to country-by-country (CbC) reports and how tax administrations can incorporate this information into their tax risk processes, inclusive of risk tools and governance processes.
Other reports/handbooks have also been issued that will be a valuable reference:
- Tax Administration 2017
- The Changing Tax Compliance Environment and the role of audit
- Shining Light on the Shadow Economy
- CbC: Handbook on effective implementation
EY’s Global Tax Alert highlights several postulates for potential US tax reform, in which both the House and Senate are busily writing new language this month to push this reform effort by President Trump.
The OECD’s additional guidance on Country-by-Country reporting is also reiterated, and the short-term extension for the US debt limit is provided to further the tax reform process.
The US jurisdictional Country-by-Country (CbC) status table, link provided herein, provides a quick reference into the countries that will automatically accept the US 2016 CbC report, as it is not an obligatory filing for US MNE’s. To the extent a country is not on this list, a detailed review will be required to ensure that timely reporting is done, possibly on a surrogate country basis.
This list should be monitored to ensure proper governance of the CbC reporting requirements, noting that filing less reports is simpler due to possible different rules, currencies and/or interpretations of similar rules by different countries.
EY’s Global Tax Alert provides a succinct summary of the latest OECD and BEPS developments, including:
- G20 and exchange of information upon request standard
- Multilateral instrument, 68 countries moving forward
- Peer reviews on BEPS 4 minimum standards:
- Action 5, harmful tax practices
- Action 6, treaty abuse
- Action 13, country-by-country reporting (CbCR)
- Action 14, dispute resolution
- Action 5 peer reviews of preferential tax regimes
- Action 13, CbCR exchange relationships; important for US MNE’s and similar jurisdictions without obligatory 2016 reporting
- MAP peer reviews
- Discussion drafts on profit splits and attribution of profits re: PE’s; comment period to Sept. 15, 2017
- Branch mismatch forthcoming revisions
- Common reporting standard
- Digital taxation
OECD is still very busy, with a plethora of BEPS follow-up and other activities, although there seems to be continuing flexibility to gain collaboration that will also lead to added complexity and disputes.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have put forth additional recommended disclosures and requirements for the Accounting Directive of public Country-by-Country (CbC) reporting, prior to enactment of the original proposal.
The Accounting Directive allows a simple majority for passage, and involves additional complexities and cost as the OECD model is now just a starting point for new information.
The Parliament would also like to extend the proposal to include the following information in company reports:
- The geographical location of the activities
- The number of employees employed on a full-time equivalent basis
- The value of assets and annual cost of maintaining those assets
- Sales and purchases
- The value of investments broken down by tax jurisdiction
- The amount of the net turnover, including a distinction between the turnover made with related parties and the turnover made with unrelated parties
- Stated capital
- Tangible assets other than cash or cash equivalents
- Public subsidies received
- The list of subsidiaries operating in each tax jurisdiction both inside and outside the EU and data for those subsidiaries corresponding to the data requirements on the parent undertaking
- All payments made to governments on an annual basis as defined in the Directive, including production entitlements, income taxes, royalties and dividends
- The report shall not only be published on the website of the company in at least one of the official languages of the EU, but the undertaking shall also file the report in a public registry managed by the Commission
EY’s Global Tax Alert, referenced herein, provides the relevant details, although it appears the CbC report is not being construed as one tool for total transfer pricing assessment, but a public tool to determine one’s fair share of tax irrespective of the legal laws and limitations in each country.
An alternative approach would be to design a standard (transfer pricing) audit template for the tax authorities that would include some, or all, of the above factors to the extent deemed important to assess a company’s tax liability in that relevant jurisdiction. However, this non-public and Best Practice audit tool is not the focus in this post-BEPS world, to date.