International Tax Cooperation

Research Paper 172, 1 December 2022

 Illicit Financial Flows and Stolen Asset Recovery: The Global North Must Act

by Abdul Muheet Chowdhary and Sebastien Babou Diasso

Domestic resource mobilization is essential for developing countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by the deadline of 2030. Concomitantly, Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), which also lead to asset theft, are major means through which these countries are losing resources. This research paper analyzes the World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery (STAR) database and shows that countries from where assets have been stolen are mostly developing countries, and countries where the stolen assets have been hidden are developed countries. The paper also shows that regarding the pending or ongoing asset recovery cases, there is a clear pattern where the majority of countries waiting to have their assets returned are developing countries, and those who must return them are developed countries. There is an unexplained and unjustified delay by developed countries in the process of returning the frozen assets to developing countries which needs to be addressed as soon as possible. There is also an evaluation of international legal reforms which can be implemented to accelerate the asset recovery process. However, all these will need the full commitment of Global North countries where most of the stolen assets are hidden and which bear the brunt of responsibility for returning them to the developing countries.

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Call to Action: “Now or Never” by H.E. Thabo Mbeki, 21 November 2022

Combating Illicit Financial Flows : “Now or Never”

Statement of H.E. Thabo Mbeki, Chairperson of the African Union High Level Panel on IFFs

“I fully support the creation of a globally inclusive, intergovernmental process at the UN. I urged all international organisations and Member States to resist attempts to block this important step forward, and thus call into question our global commitment to fighting illicit financial flows and corporate tax abuse in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

* H.E. Thabo Mbeki is also the Chair of the Board of the South Centre.

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Second African Fiscal Policy Forum, 1 December 2022

Second African Fiscal Policy Forum (Part one): Curbing Illicit Financial Flows from Africa and Accelerating Asset Recovery for Sustainable Development

Date: Thursday, 1st of December 2022 Time: 03:00 – 06:00 PM (Addis Ababa Time)

The event will be hybrid.

In person: Addis Ababa

Following the outcomes of the First Forum held in December 2021, this Second Series will be held in three iterations. This first part of the Second African Fiscal Policy Forum will bring together key stakeholders to discuss the current global processes towards combatting IFFs, the role of African regional institutions, and the importance of supporting Africa’s Domestic Resource Mobilization efforts.

Organizers: Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, CODESRIA, South Centre, Rosa Luxemburg Siftung

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Tax Cooperation Policy Brief 26, 31 October 2022

Revenue Effects of the Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate for African Economies

By Seydou Coulibaly

This policy brief provides the first piece of empirical evidence on the revenue implications of the recent global minimum tax rate reform agreement for African economies. We implement a regression discontinuity design to evaluate the effect of having an effective corporate tax rate of at least 15% on tax revenue collection for a panel of 28 African economies over the period 2000-2020.

The estimation results indicate that the implementation of the global minimum effective corporate tax rate of 15% proposed under Pillar II of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Two Pillar Solution has a positive but not statistically significant likely impact on corporate tax revenue and total tax revenue at the conventional significance levels. This suggests that the global minimum tax deal is unlikely to increase tax revenue for African economies. These findings exhort the Inclusive Framework and all the stakeholders of the global tax reform negotiations to consider revising the global minimum tax rate rules to ensure that the agreement will effectively benefit African countries through better tax revenue collection.

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Research Paper 165, 4 October 2022

Evaluating the Impact of Pillars One and Two

By Suranjali Tandon and Chetan Rao

The proposed OECD Pillar One and Two reforms mark a significant shift in the way large multinational enterprises are taxed on their global incomes. However, while considering the reform at the proposed scale tax administrators must be able to compare the revenue gains with alternatives. This paper uses open-source data to provide tentative estimates of the impact of Pillars One and Two. The methodology has been detailed so that administrators can replicate it for comparison. Further, the paper provides an assessment from the perspective of developing countries of some of the key design elements of the proposals so as to understand whether they are administrable and to foresee possible challenges.

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Tax Cooperation Policy Brief 25, 30 September 2022

UN Model Tax Convention: Selective Territoriality – The Specter of Privileged Player in a Rigged Game

By Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed

This paper lays out the chessboard on which taxes on international incomes from immovables are contested, bargained, and harvested as per pre-determined rules that are starkly tilted in favor of developed countries. This embedded and pronounced bias in the international taxes regime in favor of developed countries makes them a privileged player. The developed countries then make maneuvers to optimize on their economic gains at the expense of developing nations rendering it a rigged game setting. The paper derives its rationale from an exceptionally selective choice of territoriality on incomes from immovables, which was astonishingly not aligned with the expected reverse capital movement, that is, from developing to developed countries. The genesis and evolution of selective territoriality are traced through its various institutional development phases – League of Nations (LN), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and United Nations (UN). An overwhelming international consensus on selective territoriality on incomes from immovables notwithstanding, the UN’s role is brought into spotlight to argue that the developing countries may have suffered massively over the past one hundred years by instinctively believing in the UN Model Tax Convention’s (MTC) efficacy and blindly pursuing Article 6 in their bilateral double taxation conventions (DTCs). The inimical implications of herd-mentality on part of developing countries got galvanized in the particular wake of developed countries employing innovative optimization tools – citizenship/residence by investment programs, tax havenry, manipulable ownership structures, beneficial ownership legislations, and porous exchange of information regime – to maximize on the economic gains. The paper undertakes both normative and structuralist evaluation of selective territoriality to sum up that this is an unjust principle of distribution of fiscal rights at the international level particularly in asymmetric economic relationships, and can hold its ground only until developing countries attain full cognition of the reality and start raising their vocal chords in unison to dismantle it.  

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SC Contribution – Comments on Amount A of Pillar One, 24 August 2022

PROGRESS REPORT ON AMOUNT A OF PILLAR ONE

The BEPS Monitoring Group, 24 August 2022

The BEPS Monitoring Group submitted comments to the Public Consultation on the Progress Report on Amount A of Pillar One released by the OECD in July on behalf of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS. Abdul Muheet Chowdhary, Senior Programme Officer of the South Centre Tax Initiative, was a contributor.

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Research Paper 164, 23 September 2022

Impact of a Minimum Tax Rate under the Pillar Two Solution on Small Island Developing States

By Kuldeep Sharma

The Research Paper commences with an overview of Pillar One and Pillar Two followed by detailed discussions on salient provisions of Pillar Two.

Pillar Two is envisaged to have a widespread impact on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) which are a distinct group of 38 United Nations (UN) Member States and 20 Non-UN Members/Associate Members of UN regional commissions that are exposed to unique social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities. In all, 36 SIDS that are members of the Group of Seventy-Seven (G-77) have been analysed, namely, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vanuatu.

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Documento de Investigación 156, 1 de junio de 2022

¿Una elección difícil? Comparación de los ingresos fiscales que recaudarán los países en vías de desarrollo a partir de los regímenes del Monto A y del Artículo 12B de la Convención Modelo de las Naciones Unidas

Por Vladimir Starkov y Alexis Jin

En este documento de investigación, pretendemos calcular los ingresos tributarios que obtendrán (o perderán) los Estados miembros del South Centre y la Unión Africana con arreglo a los regímenes del Importe A y del Artículo 12B. En nuestro análisis hemos recurrido a fuentes de información disponibles para el personal investigador del sector privado, aunque no ha conllevado el examen de ninguno de los datos que los contribuyentes proporcionan a las autoridades fiscales. Nuestra investigación demuestra que los efectos comparativos en los ingresos obtenidos con los regímenes fiscales del Importe A y el Artículo 12B dependen en gran medida de a) los detalles de diseño del régimen del Artículo 12B; b) si el país es sede de empresas multinacionales que puedan estar dentro del ámbito de aplicación de los regímenes fiscales del Importe A o del Artículo 12B; y c) la desgravación a partir de la doble tributación, de haberla, que conceda el país a los contribuyentes nacionales sujetos al pago de tributos en virtud del régimen del Importe A o del Artículo 12B.

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South Centre Comments on Progress Report on Amount A of Pillar One, 18 August 2022

South Centre Comments on Progress Report on Amount A of Pillar One

The South Centre offers its comments to the OECD Inclusive Framework’s Task Force on Digital Economy (TFDE) on the Progress Report on Amount A of Pillar One.

In June 2022, the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CODA), a Special Initiative of the African Union, and the South Centre, jointly released country-level revenue estimates from Amount A compared with Article 12B of the UN Model Tax Convention, for the 84 combined Member States of the African Union and the South Centre. CODA and the South Centre have also provided a set of recommendations to developing countries on the taxation of the digitalized economy.

The Progress Report on Amount A, the latest version of the OECD’s proposed solution for taxation of the digitalized economy, makes it clear that the revenues expected for developing countries will dwindle even further than estimated by CODA and the South Centre.

With each successive update of the rules, the proposed solution is becoming increasingly less appealing to the developing countries. The OECD must, at a minimum, release revenue estimates for the 141 jurisdictions of the Inclusive Framework such that each can take an informed decision in the national interest. As an organization that sets ‘transparency’ standards, OECD must itself be transparent and provide countries with the essential information needed for making what may become a historic decision for the international taxation regime.

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