Tax

Platform for Collaboration on Tax invites final comments on a revised version of its report on the “Taxation of Offshore Indirect Transfers of Assets”

 

16/07/2018 - The Platform for Collaboration on Tax – a joint initiative of the IMF, OECD, UN and World Bank Group – has undertaken, at the request of the G20, the development of a series of "toolkit" reports to help guide developing countries in the implementation of policy options for issues in international taxation of greatest relevance to these countries. One such issue identified by developing countries themselves is the taxation of offshore indirect transfers of assets. Though an important area of international tax policy, no unifying principle has been adopted by individual countries on how to treat these transactions. This issue is, though, addressed in both main double taxation model treaties, of the OECD and the UN. Countries now follow very different approaches in their domestic law—and many treaties now in effect do not include the relevant model treaty provisions.

 

The Platform sought public feedback1 on a previous draft of this report, which was posted for comment from late summer through October of 2017. That draft generated huge interest —with 19 sets of detailed comments received from various groups, including country authorities, civil society organizations, and the private sector. These groups represented a much larger number of individual entities. Given the volume of thoughtful comments, and some of the concerns raised, the Platform partners spent considerable time digesting and responding to the comments in a new draft of the report, posted here with some new questions for consideration. Reactions are again sought, by 24 September 2018, from interested stakeholders.

 

 

Furthermore, a new ten-page document is also posted here (also available in French and Spanish), systematically detailing the comments received, identifying the parties who made them, and describing how the new draft responds to those comments. The authors have not agreed with or adjusted the text for every comment received—not least because in a number of cases different commenters took diametrically opposing views on quite fundamental issues. However, most comments have been addressed, and the new version attempts to clarify a number of issues which caused some confusion for many readers. We encourage readers to review this companion document before reading the new version of the report itself.

 

Questions to consider when reviewing the new version:

  1. Has the draft better clarified the economic rationale for taxing such transfers by offshore indirect owners?
  2. The new draft does not express a preference for either of the described legislative approaches to taxing these transfers—is this made clear?
  3. Does the draft adequately reduce any perceived emphasis on such offshore transfers as constituting tax avoidance, and make clear that the economic rationale for so taxing them is not as an anti-avoidance device?

 

Comments should be sent by e-mail no later than 24 September 2018 to GlobalTaxPlatform@worldbank.org, a common comment box for all the Platform organisations.

 

Please note that all comments received will be made publicly available. Comments submitted in the name of a collective "grouping" or "coalition", or by any person submitting comments on behalf of another person or group of persons, should identify all enterprises or individuals who are members of that collective group, or the person(s) on whose behalf the commentator(s) are acting.

 


Original posted questions:

  1. Does this report effectively address the rationale(s) for taxing offshore indirect transfers of assets?
  2. Does it lay out a clear principle for taxing offshore indirect transfers of assets?
  3. Is the definition of an offshore indirect transfer of assets clear?
  4. Is the discussion regarding source and residence taxation in this context balanced and robustly argued?
  5. Is the suggested possible expansion of the definition of immovable property for the purposes of the taxation of offshore indirect transfers reasonable?
  6. Is the concept of location-specific rents helpful in addressing these issues? If so, how is it best formulated in practical terms?
  7. Are there other implementation approaches that should be considered?
  8. Is the report’s preference for the ‘deemed disposal’ method appropriate?
  9. Are the complexities in the taxation of these international transactions adequately represented?