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Public country-by-country reporting by multinational enterprises

26-04-2019

Tax transparency has gained particular importance as a tool in the fight against tax avoidance and tax evasion, particularly in the field of corporate income tax and aggressive tax planning. Cooperation between tax authorities aims at allowing them to obtain information covering the global business of multinational enterprises (MNEs), and progress has already been made in this area. A further step in tax transparency would be to broaden it by providing publicly available information relating to tax ...

Tax transparency has gained particular importance as a tool in the fight against tax avoidance and tax evasion, particularly in the field of corporate income tax and aggressive tax planning. Cooperation between tax authorities aims at allowing them to obtain information covering the global business of multinational enterprises (MNEs), and progress has already been made in this area. A further step in tax transparency would be to broaden it by providing publicly available information relating to tax paid at the place where profits are actually made. Public country-by-country reporting (CBCR) is the publication of a defined set of facts and figures by large MNEs, thereby providing the public with a global picture of the taxes MNEs pay on their corporate income. The proposal is being considered by the European Parliament (EP) and the Council. In the EP, the amendments put forward by the ECON and JURI committees were voted on 4 July 2017. In the absence of a Council position enabling negotiations on the proposal, the Parliament adopted its position at first reading in plenary on 27 March 2019. Third edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Listing of tax havens by the EU

14-05-2018

Broadly speaking, 'tax havens' provide taxpayers, both legal and natural persons, with opportunities for tax avoidance, while their secrecy and opacity also serves to hide the origin of the proceeds of illegal and criminal activities. One might ask why establishing a list of tax havens or high-risk countries is useful. Drawing up such lists started with action to stop harmful tax practices arising from the discrepancy between the global reach of financial flows and the geographically limited scope ...

Broadly speaking, 'tax havens' provide taxpayers, both legal and natural persons, with opportunities for tax avoidance, while their secrecy and opacity also serves to hide the origin of the proceeds of illegal and criminal activities. One might ask why establishing a list of tax havens or high-risk countries is useful. Drawing up such lists started with action to stop harmful tax practices arising from the discrepancy between the global reach of financial flows and the geographically limited scope of jurisdictions, matching or inside national borders. However tax havens are referred to, they all have one thing in common: they make it possible to escape taxation. Distinctive characteristics of tax havens include low or zero taxation, fictitious residences (with no bearing on reality) and tax secrecy. The last two are key methods for hiding ultimate beneficial owners. In the EU, the process of adopting a common list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, which is also central to determining whether a third country presents a high risk in relation to money-laundering, was initiated as part of efforts to further good tax governance, and its external dimension. On 5 December 2017, the Council adopted a first common list resulting from the assessment of third countries against distinctive criteria. Pursuing the assessment process, the Council has updated the list on the basis of commitments received, while also reviewing countries that had not yet been assessed. This briefing updates and develops an earlier one, from December 2017 'Understanding the rationale for compiling 'tax haven' lists', PE 614.633.

Publishing corporate tax information Country-by-country reporting for multinational enterprise groups

16-08-2016

The Commission's Better Regulation Guidelines recall that an impact assessment 'should be comprehensive, proportionate, evidence-based, open to stakeholder's view, unbiased, prepared collectively with relevant Commission services, embedded in the policy cycle, transparent and of a high quality' (Guidelines, p. 20). After an initial appraisal, it can be concluded that this IA seems to fit to a large extent this description and could be considered in many respects as an example of good practice, compared ...

The Commission's Better Regulation Guidelines recall that an impact assessment 'should be comprehensive, proportionate, evidence-based, open to stakeholder's view, unbiased, prepared collectively with relevant Commission services, embedded in the policy cycle, transparent and of a high quality' (Guidelines, p. 20). After an initial appraisal, it can be concluded that this IA seems to fit to a large extent this description and could be considered in many respects as an example of good practice, compared to other Commission IAs in the financial field. The Better Regulation Guidelines have been to a large extent respected. The IA seems to have considered the recommendations made in relevant Parliament resolutions, such as the one of 16 December 2015 on 'bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies in the Union', although, in some cases, the Commission has drawn different conclusions. One of the weaknesses is that the IA does not appear to present the likely impacts of some changes introduced in the proposal and acknowledged in the Explanatory Memorandum, such as the EU list of tax havens. Overall, this IA appears to contribute effectively to informing the decision-making process.

Publishing corporate tax information: Implementation Appraisal

04-07-2016

The current proposal on publishing corporate tax data is part of a broader effort to tackle tax avoidance and increase tax transparency. The proposal is closely connected to the recently adopted changes to Directive 2011/16 on the automatic exchange of information among national tax authorities. Country-by-country reporting to tax administrations is included in the OECD's action plan for tackling tax avoidance. However, while the present proposal applies the same turnover threshold and covers the ...

The current proposal on publishing corporate tax data is part of a broader effort to tackle tax avoidance and increase tax transparency. The proposal is closely connected to the recently adopted changes to Directive 2011/16 on the automatic exchange of information among national tax authorities. Country-by-country reporting to tax administrations is included in the OECD's action plan for tackling tax avoidance. However, while the present proposal applies the same turnover threshold and covers the same businesses as the OECD plan, it goes somewhat further as it adds an obligation to disseminate tax information publicly. Parliament has long called for tax information to be made public, however, this proposal does not go as far as Parliament had recommended in previous resolutions on the topic, particularly, in terms of the data that will be made public. There is already some EU-wide experience of making corporate tax-related data public with the recent decision to mandate the banking sector to publish tax-related data. The full impact of this measure is still unclear as several years of data will be needed to properly track tax planning behaviour. However, the Commission's evaluation on the subject has not yet found any negative impacts of publishing tax-related data. When it comes to what public scrutiny would achieve, there is not as yet an abundance of evidence on the effect of potential reputation-related damage on large businesses' tax strategies. Public disclosure will centre on businesses' tax payments within the EU, which means that it will not necessarily be possible to gain an overview of a business's total tax position. This will have some effect on the analysis that can be made of businesses' taxrelated information. However, the proposal sends a strong message in relation to the need for additional transparency.

Country-by-country reporting for multinational enterprise groups

09-06-2016

New proposals on transparency would provide tax authorities with comprehensive and relevant information on the activities of multinational enterprise (MNE) groups to help countries fight tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning. Action has been designed to be implemented at both international and European Union (EU) levels. In particular, Action 13 of the OECD/G20 BEPS (Base erosion and profit shifting) action plan includes a requirement that MNEs provide all relevant governments with information ...

New proposals on transparency would provide tax authorities with comprehensive and relevant information on the activities of multinational enterprise (MNE) groups to help countries fight tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning. Action has been designed to be implemented at both international and European Union (EU) levels. In particular, Action 13 of the OECD/G20 BEPS (Base erosion and profit shifting) action plan includes a requirement that MNEs provide all relevant governments with information on their global allocation of income, economic activity and taxes paid using a common template. The European Commission has proposed to amend the Directive on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation (DAC) to implement BEPS action 13 on country-by-country reporting (CBCR) in the EU. CBCR would be added to the categories of information subject to automatic exchange of information between Member State tax administrations, under the DAC's exchange mechanism. As a tax measure, Parliament is only consulted and the proposal has to be adopted by the Council. This briefing updates an earlier version, from May 2016: PE 582.004.

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