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.
EY’s Global Tax Alert provides the latest BEPS developments for the OECD, EU, Israel, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and Chile. Brief extracts are provided, with Best Practice comments, with the Tax Alert provided for reference:
Bermuda signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement for the automatic exchange of Country-by-Country reports (CbC MCAA), becoming the 33rd signatory of this instrument.
On 19 April 2016, the OECD released a communiqué announcing that together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations and the World Bank (collectively referred to as the “International Organizations”) have joined efforts to boost global cooperation in tax matters. The joint initiative, named “Platform for Collaboration on Tax” or simply “the Platform,” aims to produce concrete joint outputs and deliverables under an agreed work plan, strengthen dynamic interactions between standard setting, capacity building and technical assistance, and share information on activities more systematically.
The Platform will work on:
Developing appropriate tools for developing countries
Supporting developing countries to participate in the implementation of BEPS
Building effective tax systems and building awareness
Providing a venue for information sharing
The first of the toolkits addresses tax incentives and was issued in November 2015. The remaining seven toolkits will address the indirect transfer of assets (September 2016), transfer pricing comparability (October 2016), transfer pricing documentation (October 2016), tax treaty negotiation capacity (December 2016), base eroding payments (June 2017), supply chain management (March 2018), and BEPS risk assessment (March 2018).
The proposed amendments to the Accounting Directive would require large multinational companies operating in the European Union to draw up and publically disclose reports on income tax information, including a breakdown of profits, revenues, taxes and employees. Note, this is an Accounting Directive that provides another legislative approach to implement transparency measures in addition to proposed EU Directives and/or separate country guidelines. This is also another layer of complexity in reporting by multinational organizations, for which other countries may also adopt as part of statutory reporting that is public information. This report will also dictate a Q&A proactive approach by organisations to address perceived gaps and comments by the public. Such reporting, when finalized, should also be summarized to the Board of Directors as an alignment of their responsibilities.
The concept of “significant digital presence” has been communicated in a circular to broaden the tax net for internet activities applicable for corporate income tax and VAT purposes. Other countries have been, and will continue, embracing this subjective area of tax for additional revenue, albeit with subjectivity and avenues for additional disputes.
Portugal & South Africa:
Draft legislation adopting country-by-country (CbC) reporting has been published. To the extent any US-based multinational thinks additional time is provided due to the potential 1-year lag for US CbC reporting, such legislation demanding obligatory reporting in the parent jurisdiction should reassess future internal reporting timelines and processes.
A consultation process and draft legislation of CbC reporting for the 2018 tax year has commenced, with voluntary reporting for the 2016 and 2017 tax years.
Chile and Uruguay signed a Double Tax Treaty that embodies several BEPS concepts, such as permanent establishment (PE) and hybrid mismatch arrangements. Note, the new BEPS incentivized treaties are currently legislated in several countries, although the related BEPS guidelines may still not be finalized. Accordingly, it is relevant to cross-check countries with significant transactions with the signature of new treaties.
Following his 2013 Budget announcement, the Minister of Finance publicised the members of a tax review committee on 17 July 2013. The committee, now known as the Davis Tax Committee (DTC), will examine the role of South Africa’s tax system to promote growth, job creation, sustainable development and fiscal self-reliance. It will take the long term objectives of the National Development Plan into account in its work. The following links provide reference to the DTC homepage and biographies of its members.
Using its Terms of Reference as the point of departure, the DTC has adopted a work programme that has prioritised the establishment of specialist sub-committees on small businesses, the appropriateness of the tax base and tax mix in South Africa, and base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS).
The DTC has also adopted an approach that is participatory and consultative. This will provide for wide engagement with all stakeholders. Special dialogue sessions are arranged on an ongoing basis to take into account a diversity of interests and opinions. The DTC accordingly calls upon all interested parties to make use of the opportunity to contribute to the mentioned priorities for now.
Top priority of the DTC at the moment is to address ways in which the tax system can be improved to facilitate entrepreneurship and the growth of small businesses. Various tax packages already exist to encourage small businesses. The DTC needs to review these packages to find an optimal tax package that assists small businesses in contributing towards economic growth and reducing the high unemployment rate. Urgent contributions in this regard will be most welcome by 20 November 2013.
Contributions with regard to the tax burden and tax mix are invited by 30 November 2013. The BEPS Sub-Committee is working on a longer timeframe that is aligned with the OECD BEPS Action Plan. Contributions with regard to BEPS are welcome by 31 January 2014.
The OECD’s Task Force on Tax and Development will use this concept to assist developing countries by providing international auditing expertise and advice to better address tax base erosion, including tax evasion and avoidance. This initiative is led by the Commissioner General of the South Africa Revenue Service, South Africa’s Deputy Finance Minister and Director of the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration.
The Tax Inspectors Without Borders program will match demand from countries requesting international tax audit assistance with a supply of international experts, primarily consisting of tax inspectors in other tax administrations. Accordingly, the experts will now be made available to developing countries.
The initiative is being launched this year, thus communication with the auditors in developing countries should include a discussion on the use of this concept, a listing of the respective experts and the communications that could be shared with the corporation.
It will be interesting to see the development of this initiative, the sharing of information, memorandums of understanding with the corporation or, absent an explicit statement that the country is using this initiative, any impact on the appeal process resulting from assessments of this sharing program. Additionally, it would be interesting to compare the developing countries that use this program versus, or along with, tax training from the United Nations, posted in the blog dated 2 June 2013.