30/06/2016 - Representatives of more than 80 countries and jurisdictions have gathered in Kyoto, Japan to push forward ongoing efforts to update international tax rules for the 21st century, the latest step in the OECD/G20 Project to tackle Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS).
The 30 June - 1 July meeting marks the first time that a broad range of countries, representing varying levels of development, come together on an equal footing in the OECD’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs, and inaugurates the new inclusive framework on BEPS implementation.
“Today we launch a new era in international tax,” said Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration. “Through their participation in the decision-making as well as the technical working groups of the OECD's Committee on Fiscal Affairs, the members of the inclusive framework will now have a direct influence in shaping international tax rules to tackle BEPS and ensuring a level playing field.”
The BEPS Project delivers solutions for governments to close the gaps in existing international rules that allow corporate profits to « disappear » or be artificially shifted to low or no tax environments, where companies have little or no economic activity. Revenue losses from BEPS are conservatively estimated at USD 100-240 billion annually, or 4-10% of global corporate income tax (CIT) revenues. Given developing countries’ greater reliance on CIT revenues, the impact of BEPS on these countries is particularly damaging.
Thirty-six countries and jurisdictions have already formally joined the new inclusive framework on BEPS, and have committed to implement the BEPS package, bringing to 82 the total number of countries and jurisdictions participating on an equal footing in the Project. The other 21 countries and jurisdictions attending the Kyoto meeting are likely to join the inclusive framework in the coming months.
In Kyoto, participants have started the work to undertake the standard-setting on remaining issues including transfer pricing and interest deductibility, as well as the development of practical guidance to support consistent, global implementation of their commitments to the BEPS package. A particular focus of the inclusive framework will be ensuring implementation of the four minimum standards arising from the BEPS Project – on harmful tax practices, tax treaty abuse, country-by-country reporting and dispute resolution mechanisms – which will be subject to a peer review process, alongside ongoing monitoring of the other elements of the package.
Recognising their role in supporting global implementation of the BEPS package, international organisations and regional tax bodies are also participating in the initiative to ensure countries are well-equipped to tackle BEPS. A special session of the meeting will be held with representatives from business and civil society, providing governments the opportunity to hear first-hand their perspectives on the BEPS Project to date and provide input at an early stage on the work of the new inclusive framework.
During the meeting in Kyoto, five countries – Argentina, Curacao, Georgia, Korea, and Uruguay – signed the Multilateral Competent Authority agreement for the automatic exchange of Country-by-Country reports ("CbC MCAA") under the BEPS Project, bringing the total number of signatories to 44 countries. The CbC MCAA allows all signatories to bilaterally and automatically exchange Country-by-Country Reports with each other, as contemplated by Action 13 of the BEPS Action Plan. It will help ensure that tax administrations obtain a complete understanding of how MNEs structure their operations, while also ensuring that the confidentiality of such information is safeguarded.
Hosted in Japan by Finance Minister TaAso and the Chair of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs, Vice-Minister Masatsugu Asakawa, this meeting will also mark Mr Asakawa’s last plenary meeting as chair. Martin Kreienbaum, Director General of International Taxation for the German Federal Ministry of Finance has been elected to replace Mr Asakawa as Chair of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs from January 2017.