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This article summarises discussions held at the 11th OECD-WBG-IMF Global Bond Market Forum where withdrawal of policy stimulus and sovereign risk were singled out as the two biggest concerns for investors. It addresses the continuing challenge of measuring sovereign risk, the need for more reliable indicators of sovereign risk to help make appropriate investment decisions and how difficult circumstances have forced sovereign issuers
At the end of April 2010, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) published an exposure draft with proposed changes to International Accounting Standard No. 19 (IAS 19). If enacted, the changes to IAS 19 proposed by the IASB are expected to have a significant impact on company financials on a global basis.
The OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations provide guidance on the application of the “arm’s length principle”, which is the international consensus on transfer pricing, i.e. on the valuation, for tax purposes, of cross-border transactions between associated enterprises. In a global economy where multinational enterprises (MNEs) play a prominent role, transfer pricing is high on the agenda of tax administrators and taxpayers alike. Governments need to ensure that the taxable profits of MNEs are not artificially shifted out of their jurisdictions and that the tax base reported by MNEs in their respective countries reflect the economic activity undertaken therein. For taxpayers, it is essential to limit the risks of economic double taxation that may result from a dispute between two countries on the determination of an arm’s length remuneration for their cross-border transactions with associated enterprises.
After having been originally published in 1979, the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines were approved by the OECD Council in their original version in 1995. A limited update was made in 2009, primarily to reflect the adoption, in the 2008 update of the Model Tax Convention, of a new paragraph 5 of Article 25 dealing with arbitration, and of changes to the Commentary on Article 25 on mutual agreement procedures to resolve cross-border tax disputes. In the 2010 edition, Chapters I-III were substantially revised, with new guidance on: the selection of the most appropriate transfer pricing method to the circumstances of the case; the practical application of transactional profit methods (transactional net margin method and profit split method); and on the performance of comparability analyses. Furthermore, a new Chapter IX, on the transfer pricing aspects of business restructurings, was added. Consistency changes were made to the rest of the Guidelines.
Read about OECD efforts to help governments improve the domestic and global policies that affect business and markets in the wake of the global economic crisis.
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Government-guaranteed bank bonds have been an effective tool in avoiding the worst during the financial crisis. However, the pricing of the guarantees has created competitive distortions and the continued availability of such guarantees into 2010 may have reduced the pressure on some banks to address their weaknesses.