Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project (BEPS)

Tax Cooperation Policy Brief 27, 21 December 2022

Taxing Big Tech: Policy Options for Developing Countries

By Abdul Muheet Chowdhary and Sébastien Babou Diasso

Even as the COVID-19 crisis wreaked havoc on the global economy, it gave rise to a small set of winners, namely Big Tech. The increasing prevalence of remote work and an acceleration of the digitalization of the economy allowed Big Tech companies to raise enormous revenues during the pandemic, which in some cases dwarfed the gross domestic product (GDP) of several countries. This policy brief explores the rising untaxed profits of Big Tech in particular, and the digitalized economy in general, and explains why the existing rules are insufficient. It also critically examines the solution that has been devised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of developed countries. Finally, it outlines alternative policy options that are more suitable for developing countries to tax the profits of Big Tech.

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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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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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Research Paper 161, 26 July 2022

Two Pillar Solution for Taxing the Digitalized Economy: Policy Implications and Guidance for the Global South

by Irene Ovonji-Odida, Veronica Grondona, Abdul Muheet Chowdhary

The taxation of the digitalized economy is the single most important topic in international tax negotiations today. The OECD has devised a “Two Pillar solution” to the problem. Pillar One is focusing on a reallocation of taxing rights to market jurisdictions, which are largely expected to be developing countries, and Pillar Two is instituting a global minimum tax. The Pillar One solution, known as Amount A, will be codified into a Multilateral Convention (MLC) and is expected to be placed before countries for signature in early 2023. The solution ushers in a new paradigm in the taxation of multinational enterprises but has immense complexity and likely minimal revenue gains for most developing countries. It will also require them to give up the right of unilateral tax measures on all out-of-scope companies, meaning they will only be able to tax the fewer than 100 companies likely to be in-scope, if at all. The decision to sign or not is thus a historic one, as it will lock developing countries into a constricted new framework, at a time when revenue needs are especially critical to recover the economies from COVID-19 in the context of a turbulent state of the global economy.

However, the United Nations too has a solution, known as Article 12B. This operates in a different manner and is a minor modification to the existing decentralized international tax system which is based on bilateral tax treaties, and which developing countries are more familiar with. It is also likely to generate far higher revenues than Amount A, and does not restrict any of their sovereign taxing rights. This Research Paper assesses the various implications for developing countries from adopting the OECD’s or the United Nations’s respective solutions and concludes with a possible global South response to the Two Pillar solution.

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Outcomes – CoDA-South Centre Dialogue Series on IFFs, 1 June 2022

Outcomes and Recommendations of the CoDA-South Centre Dialogue Series on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs): Comparing Tax Revenues to Be Raised by Developing Countries from the OECD and UN Solutions for Taxing the Digital Economy

The Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) and the South Centre co-organised the first of a series of dialogues on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) on 1st June 2022. The dialogue was convened mainly to launch and discuss a research paper jointly commissioned by CoDA and the South Centre titled ‘A Tough Call? Comparing Tax Revenues to Be Raised by Developing Countries from the Amount A and the United Nations Model Treaty Article 12B Regimes’.

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Document de Recherche 156, 1 juin 2022

Un choix cornélien ?

Comparaison des recettes fiscales à engranger par les pays en développement au titre des régimes du Montant A et de l’Article 12B du Modèle de convention des Nations Unies

Par Vladimir Starkov et Alexis Jin

Le présent document de recherche se propose d’estimer le montant des recettes fiscales qui seraient engrangé (ou perdu) par les pays membres du Centre Sud et de l’Union africaine dans le cadre de la mise en œuvre du Montant A et de l’Article 12B. Notre analyse s’appuie sur des sources d’information accessibles aux chercheurs du secteur privé et non sur les informations communiquées par les contribuables aux autorités fiscales. Elle démontre que les effets comparatifs sur les recettes de la mise en œuvre du Montant A et de l’article 12B dépendent en grande partie (a) des détails de conception du régime mis en place par l’article 12B, (b) du fait que le pays accueille ou non le siège d’entreprises multinationales susceptibles d’être imposées au titre du montant A ou de l’article 12B, et (c) de l’allégement éventuel de la double imposition qui sera accordé par le pays aux contribuables nationaux imposés au titre du Montant A ou de l’article 12B.

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Research Paper 156, 1 June 2022

A Tough Call? Comparing Tax Revenues to Be Raised by Developing Countries from the Amount A and the UN Model Treaty Article 12B Regimes

By Vladimir Starkov and Alexis Jin

In this research paper, we attempt to estimate the tax revenues to be gained (or lost) by the South Centre and African Union’s Member States under the Amount A and Article 12B regimes. Our analysis relied on sources of information available to private sector researchers but did not involve review of any information that taxpayers provide to tax authorities. Our research demonstrates that the comparative revenue effects of the Amount A and Article 12B taxation regimes largely depend on (a) design details of the Article 12B regime, (b) whether the country hosts headquarters of MNEs that may be in scope of Amount A or Article 12B taxation, and (c) what relief from double taxation, if any, the country will grant to domestic taxpayers subject to taxation under either the Amount A or Article 12B regimes.

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Informe sobre políticas en materia de cooperación tributaria 15, Junio de 2021

Conceptualización de un Instrumento multilateral de la ONU

Por Radhakishan Rawal

Los cambios que ha sufrido recientemente la  Convención Modelo de las Naciones Unidas sobre la Doble Tributación entre Países Desarrollados y Países en Desarrollo han dado lugar a disposiciones mas favorables a los países en desarrollo, al aumentar los ingresos fiscales a través de la imposición de tributos internacionales, por ejemplo, en la imposición de tributos a los ingresos procedentes del extranjero. En esta imposición se incluyen, entre otros, los impuestos sobre los ingresos procedentes de servicios digitales automatizados, pagos de programas informáticos y plusvalías. Normalmente, estos impuestos se incorporarían en convenios fiscales bilaterales a través de largas negociaciones. En cambio, un instrumento multilateral de las Naciones Unidas permitiria  actualizar de una manera mas acelerada varios convenios tributatrios por medio de una sola negociación. Esto ayudará a los países en desarrollo a recaudar ingresos con mayor prontitud. En este informe sobre políticas se aborda la posible estructura de un instrumento multilateral de esa índole.

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SC Contribution – Comments on the Draft Model Rules on Nexus and Revenue Sourcing, 18 February 2022

Draft Model Rules On Nexus and Revenue Sourcing

The BEPS Monitoring Group, 18 February 2022

These comments by the BEPS Monitoring Group (BMG) analyse the draft model rules on nexus and revenue sourcing, released by the OECD Secretariat on 4 February 2022 for public consultation, in the continuing work to address the tax challenges of the digitalised economy by the Task Force on the Digital Economy (TFDE) set up by the G20/OECD Inclusive Framework on BEPS. The BMG is a network of experts on various aspects of international tax, set up by a number of civil society organizations which research and campaign for tax justice including the Global Alliance for Tax Justice, Red de Justicia Fiscal de America Latina y el Caribe, Tax Justice Network, Christian Aid, Action Aid, Oxfam, and Tax Research UK. This report has not been approved in advance by these organizations, which do not necessarily accept every detail or specific point made here, but they support the work of the BMG and endorse its general perspectives. It is based on our previous reports, and has been drafted by Sol Picciotto and Jeffery Kadet, with comments and contributions by Abdul Muheet Chowdhary, Sakshi Rai, Sudarshan Rangan, Attiya Waris and Yansheng Zhu.

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SC Contribution – Comments on the Model Rules for the GloBE, 9 February 2022

Comments on the Model Rules for the GloBE

The BEPS Monitoring Group, 9 February 2022

The global minimum tax should provide an incentive for developing countries to raise their effective tax rate as close as possible to their statutory tax rates, which are often higher than the 15% rate. The average rate for South Centre and G-77+China Member States is around 25%. In any case it should be at least 15%, since any undertaxed profits would in any case be taxed at that rate by developed countries. Leading OECD countries have already adopted measures to protect their source tax base, which they intend to retain, such as the UK’s diverted profits tax and the US’s base erosion anti-abuse tax. Poorer countries have even more reason to do likewise. They should consider introducing or strengthening measures such as an alternative minimum tax on deemed or book profits, versions of which already exist in many countries. These are compatible with the GloBE rules, and should be regarded as an essential complement, to ensure that it contributes to both fair and effective taxation of MNE profits.

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SouthViews No. 234, 18 February 2022

South Asia and the Need for Increased Tax Revenues from the Digitalized Economy

By Abdul Muheet Chowdhary

It is understandable why Pakistan and Sri Lanka, both members of the OECD Inclusive Framework, rejected the Two Pillar solution of the OECD on the taxation of the digitalized economy. Both Pillars would have deprived them of badly needed revenues, especially Pillar One. South Asian countries, amongst the poorest in the world and with high levels of external debt, must conduct a careful cost-benefit analysis if they are considering proceeding with Pillar One. Agreeing to this means foregoing unilateral measures on all companies, including those out-of-scope and losing vital policy space. Further, the agreement will have a long shelf-life and likely last for the next 30-40 years. Thus, all developing countries, including from South Asia, should be clear about what they are ‘getting into’.

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