Simplifying international tax rules will not solve all the challenges that stand in the way of healthy cross-border investment, but eliminating unnecessary provisions would be a positive pivot relative to the trajectory of recent years. It’s high time that policymakers stopped pursuing ever more complex rules and started the hard work of simplification.
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The JCT analysis raises some useful questions for the U.S. domestic debate over Pillar Two. The Treasury Department should examine its support for an agreement that will reduce its own revenue intake. But it is also worth noting that the principal mechanism for the revenue reduction—the foreign tax credit—is a policy already baked into U.S. law, including the Republican-enacted global minimum tax from 2017. The OECD deal merely takes advantage of this longstanding feature.
In general, the effective tax rates on the foreign profits of U.S. multinationals are not that low relative to the U.S. tax rate, contrary to popular rhetoric.
Lawmakers around the world are considering substantial changes to international tax rules to address tax avoidance. Many changes have already been made in recent years, with early economic evidence indicating that they may not only address tax avoidance but also impact business hiring and investment decisions.
How Controlled Foreign Corporation Rules Look Around the World: Colombia and a Perspective of Latin America
For Colombia, as well as for other countries in the world that are not capital exporters, one important question is whether CFC rules are necessary or are indirectly a requirement to be part of world organizations like the OECD (which Colombia is not a member) in order to be on the radar of larger economies.
Germany has had a Controlled Foreign Corporation (CFC) regime since 1972, when the German Foreign Transactions Tax Act was enacted. Under the German regime, a CFC is a foreign company where its capital or voting rights are either directly or indirectly majority-owned by German residents at the end of its fiscal year.
The CFC legislation in Spain is not as complicated as it is in some other countries, and it is aligned with the standards recommended by the OECD. The Spanish rules have evolved in a way that the rules are designed to comply with the EU principles not to interrupt the functioning of the Union and its single market.
In France, Controlled Foreign Corporation (CFC) rules were first enacted in 1980. The French tax regime operates on a strict territorial basis, where only profits generated in the country are subject to tax in France.
The Chinese approach to base erosion and profit shifting is more focused on the application of transfer pricing rules and not on the application of CFC rules. Even with the rules in place, the Chinese tax authorities have not enforced the rules as much as other countries have.