Strategizing International Tax Best Practices – by Keith Brockman

Posts tagged ‘modified nexus approach’

EU & BEPS: Next steps

The EU, now recognized as the accelerator of BEPS for its Member States, have issued a roadmap of priorities and objectives for the near future.  A link to Deloitte’s World Tax Advisor is provided, and the attached article therein.

I have highlighted certain parts of the roadmap worth watching:

  • Country-by-Country reporting (will there be a consistent EU standard?)
  • Hybrid mismatch arrangements
  • Code of Conduct activities, including alignment of transfer pricing outcomes with value creation, an extension of BEPS Actions 8-10.  (Note Sweden and UK are already using such Actions re: clarification of existing transfer pricing policy)
  • Payments from an EU to non-EU country
  • The EU Arbitration Convention is mentioned, although it’s practical effect on mitigating dispute resolution is limited

http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/Tax/dtt-tax-worldtaxadvisor-160226.pdf

European Union:
Dutch presidency issues EU-BEPS roadmap

The Netherlands, which currently holds the presidency of the council of the EU, issued an ambitious EU-BEPS “roadmap” on 19 February 2016 that sets out plans to move forward with previous EU proposals, as well as future efforts on areas relating to the OECD’s base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project. The roadmap includes the following:

  • Possibly including a minimum effective taxation clause in the EU interest and royalties directive, and also possibly including or referring to the OECD “modified nexus approach” (however, no mention is made of the previous proposals to reduce the shareholding requirement in the directive from 25% to 10%, add legal entities to the annex or remove the “direct” holding requirement);
  • Reaching consensus on the anti-avoidance directive proposed by the European Commission on 28 January 2016 (for prior coverage, see World Tax Advisor, 12February 2016);URL: http://newsletters.usdbriefs.com/2016/Tax/WTA/160212_1.html
  • Reaching agreement on the European Commission’s proposal to introduce the OECD BEPS minimum standard for country-by-country reporting in the EU;
  • Initiating discussions for reforming the EU Code of Conduct group (specifically, the group’s governance, transparency and working methods), followed by discussions on a revision to the mandate in relation to the concept that profits are subject, as appropriate, to an effective level of tax within the EU;
  • Reaching agreement on guidance and explanatory notes on hybrid permanent establishment mismatches in situations involving third countries;
  • Continuing to monitor the legislative process necessary to revise existing patent box regimes; and
  • Monitoring and exchanging views on the BEPS developments relating to tax treaties concluded by EU member states, the OECD multilateral instrument to modify tax treaties and the European Commission’s recent recommendations on the implementation of measures to combat tax treaty abuse. 

     

     

    The Code of Conduct group will start work on the following:

  • Preparing EU guidance on aligning transfer pricing outcomes with value creation, in accordance with BEPS actions 8-10;
  • Identifying potential issues that arise when payments are made from the EU to a non- EU country;
  • Assessing the opportunity for developing EU guidance for implementing the conclusions on BEPS action 12 (the disclosure of aggressive tax planning), notably, with a view to facilitating the exchange of information between tax authorities; and
  • Developing guidelines on the conditions and rules for the issuance of tax rulings by EU member states.Additionally, the High Level Working Party on Taxation may discuss the current situation regarding the EU arbitration convention that allows the settlement of transfer pricing disputes.

TEI comments: BEPS IP & VAT Guidelines

TEI submitted comments on the Modified Nexus Approach for IP (BEPS Action 5) and International VAT/GST Guidelines.  Links to the submissions are provided for reference:

http://tei.org/Documents/TEI%20Comments%20-%20BEPS%20Action%205%20Harmful%20Tax%20Practices%20-%20FINAL%20to%20OECD%2019%20February%202015.pdf

http://tei.org/Documents/OECD%20VAT%20Guidelines%20-%20B2C%20Practical%20Application%20-%20TEI%20Comments%20-%20FINAL.pdf

Summary: IP, BEPS Action 5:

  • Accelerated  comment process will likely lead to suboptimal results.
  • The singular entity approach to benefit from the IP regime is problematic from a potential restructuring necessity and poses deviations from the arm’s length principle.
  • R&D and patents have been expressly stated as benefitting from the IP regime, whereas other activities are not yet mentioned.
  • Limiting the preferential regime to strictly patents, vs. innovative software, etc., represents a myopic approach.
  • The 2021 expiration date for existing regimes seems too short-sighted for patents that may last 20 years.

Summary: International VAT/GST Guidelines

  • Unilateral implementation of such guidelines erodes the neutrality principle, leading to double taxation or double non-taxation.
  • Recommendations should align with the OECD discussions for a reverse charge mechanism in B2B scenarios.
  • Supplier based documentation requirements should be practical and simple.
  • The statement that a VAT/GST registration does not create PE should be moved from a footnote to the body of the document for clarity.
  • The lack of consistency in application of transfer pricing adjustments for VAT/GST will provide increased risk of double taxation.
  • Final rules that are clear and uniformly interpreted should be implemented via simple, consistent, flexible and proportional guidelines.

TEI’s comments for these two critical topics convey practical and thoughtful considerations for change prior to final implementation.  They should thereby be reviewed to better understand the global context and potential consequences for these actions.

 

BEPS update: Actions 5 & 15

The OECD has updates available with respect to Action 5 (Intangibles), Action 15 (Multilateral instrument) and Action 13 (Country-by-Country reporting – refer to prior post of 6 Feb. 2015).  Links are provided for the OECD’s statement of intent addressing these three actions in particular.

http://www.oecd.org/tax/first-steps-towards-implementation-of-oecd-g20-efforts-against-tax-avoidance-by-multinationals.htm

http://www.oecd.org/ctp/beps-action-5-agreement-on-modified-nexus-approach-for-ip-regimes.pdf

http://www.oecd.org/ctp/beps-action-15-mandate-for-development-of-multilateral-instrument.pdf

Summary – Action 5 (Intangibles):

  • The Modified Nexus Approach is generally accepted.
  • 30% uplift of qualifying expenses re: outsourcing and acquisition costs in addition to significant R&D activities of taxpayer.
  • Existing regimes will be closed by 30 June 2016 to new entrants; legislation to be effected in 2015.
  • Grandfather rules for existing regimes may extend 5 years (i.e. 30 June 2021).
  • Methodology of tracking / tracing R&D expenditures will be developed.
  • Guidance to be issued re: definitions; patents qualify, whereas trademarks do not qualify.

Summary – Action 15 (Multilateral Instrument):

  • The intent to develop a multilateral instrument to implement specific BEPS Actions is still desirable and feasible.
  • The instrument will be designed to implement treaty-related measures of the BEPS Project.
  • Several BEPS Action items that are known to be inclusive are Action 2 (Hybrid entities), Action 6 (Treaty abuse), Action 7 (PE) and Action 14 (Dispute resolution).  Other Action items may be included after final guidance is developed, including a mechanism to exchange information for country-by-country reporting.
  • Each Action item may be optional, or there may be a minimum number of Actions that a country will have to execute.
  • The instrument is not compulsory and is open to all jurisdictions.
  • Development of the instrument will be accomplished by an ad-hoc group that is under the aegis of the OECD and G20.
  • Outputs are expected Sept. 2015, with final development of the instrument concluded by 31 Dec. 2016.

The timing of 31 Dec. 2016 will be critical to monitor, as many countries may decide to develop unilateral legislation prior to this date.  It is hopeful that tax administrations will not try to (informally) implement BEPS guidelines prior to the time that effective legislation is executed.

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