BEPS Action 7 / PE: TEI’s comments
Tax Executives Institute, Inc. (TEI) has provided comments in response to OECD’s BEPS Action 7: Preventing the Artificial Avoidance of PE Status.
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- Changes to the definition of a Permanent Establishment (PE) are more welcome in the Model Convention, as recommended, rather than modifying the official commentary.
- Continued focus on physical presence in the general definition of a PE is commended.
- “The Discussion Draft generally views commissionaires as structured “primarily” to permit MNEs to erode the tax base of the State of sale.” However, there is no mention of the legitimate arrangements for which they are used.
- Four amendments are proposed, each of which would likely eliminate the commissionnaire arrangement and increase uncertainty.
- The new paragraph 6, broadening the definition of an independent agent, is vague and problematic. This change may result in a subsidiary being a dependent agent of the parent in a limited risk distributor situation, resulting in PE of the parent.
- The proposed anti-fragmentation rules for a PE exception are subjective and increase uncertainty.
- The Authorized OECD Approach (AOA) for determining a PE’s profits are complex and uncertain.
- There are no transition periods or grandfathering provisions for implementation of the new PE definition.
TEI’s commentary is well written and poses practical arguments that should be considered by the OECD. Accordingly, it is a document that should be required reading for all tax practitioners involved in transfer pricing. The proposed changes will also affect other aspects of transfer pricing and BEPS Actions that will be finalized this year.