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Proposed Directive on the E.U. Common (Consolidated) Corporate Tax Base – A Primer

Proposed Directive on the E.U. Common (Consolidated) Corporate Tax Base – A Primer

For decades, European bureaucrats looked with disdain at the way the various states within the U.S. compute state tax.  The arm’s length principle within Europe trumped state apportionment.  Now, however, the European Commission has issued three proposal directives that deal with (i) the Common Corporate Tax Base (“C.C.T.B.”) and the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (“C.C.C.T.B.”), (ii) resolution of double tax disputes, and (iii) mismatches with non-E.U. countries. To the surprise of many, the C.C.C.T.B. includes a three-factor apportionment rule for the sharing of global income by the members of a corporate group operating throughout the E.U.  Stefano Grilli of Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners, Milan, explains proposals that have been introduced.

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U.K. Implements 25% “Google Tax” on Diverted Profits

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The U.K. has implemented the controversial diverted profits tax on the profits of multinational companies that are “artificially diverted” from activity within the country. This 25% levy became effective on profits arising on or after April 1, 2015. At this point, it is unclear whether the outcome of the Parliamentary election on May 7 will impact the enforcement of the diverted profits tax, which was enacted without thorough examination by Parliament.

U.K. officials claim multinational corporations are manipulating the tax system and have imposed the 25% levy to prevent companies from avoiding a taxable presence in the U.K. This corporate diversions tax is aimed at entities that transfer profits to lower tax jurisdictions, away from the U.K. The diverted profits tax is being called the “Google tax” because it addresses the practices of well-known international entities such as Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and Starbucks Corp. that have used the U.K.’s permanent establishment and economic substance rules to craft tax advantages within the bounds of the law. Legislators have held hearings within the last year on how these three companies in particular have been able to generate billions of dollars in revenue in the U.K. but report little or no taxable profits.

The U.K. tax authority, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (“H.M.R.C.”), introduced a draft of the diverted profits tax last fall and quickly implemented the legislation ahead of the May 7 election. There is great concern about the legislation’s complexity and that its hasty enactment will only result in future revisions, which will further complicate the matter. On the whole, the government is targeting transactions that it does not favor even though they are legal, and the tax itself is being criticized for undermining the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project executed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Governments and Information Gathering: Impact on MNE Planning

Published by Bloomberg BNA in the Tax Management International Journal, Vol. 39, No. 12: 2010.

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