What is a global minimum tax and how could it affect firms, nations?

What is a global minimum tax and how could it affect companies, countries?
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Paris/Washington, April 7

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has thrown the burden of the U.S. authorities behind a push for a global company minimum tax fee, probably carving a path to a long-sought deal updating worldwide tax guidelines for the primary time in a technology.

Yellen stated on Monday that she is working with G20 nations to agree on a global minimum, which she stated could assist finish a “30-year race to the bottom on corporate tax rates.”


Major economies are aiming to discourage multinational firms from shifting earnings – and tax revenues – to low-tax nations no matter the place their gross sales are made.

Increasingly, earnings from intangible sources similar to drug patents, software program and royalties on mental property has migrated to those jurisdictions, permitting firms to keep away from paying greater taxes of their conventional dwelling nations.

With a broadly agreed global minimum tax, the Biden administration hopes to cut back such tax base erosion with out placing American companies at a monetary drawback, permitting them to compete on innovation, infrastructure and different attributes.

The Trump administration took a first stab at capturing revenues misplaced to tax havens with a U.S. company offshore minimum tax in 2017. The “Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income,” or GILTI, tax fee was solely 10.5% – half the home company tax fee.


The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has been coordinating tax negotiations amongst 140 nations for years on two main efforts: setting guidelines for taxing cross-border digital companies and curbing tax base erosion, with a global company minimum tax a part of the latter.

The OECD and G20 nations intention to achieve consensus on each fronts by mid-year, however the talks on a global company minimum are technically less complicated and politically much less contentious.

The minimum tax is anticipated to make up the majority of the $50 billion-$80 billion in additional company tax that the OECD estimates firms will find yourself paying globally if offers on each efforts are enacted.


If nations agree on a global minimum, governments could nonetheless set no matter native company tax fee they need. But if firms pay decrease charges in a explicit nation, their dwelling governments could “top-up” their taxes to the agreed minimum fee, eliminating the benefit of shifting earnings to a tax haven.

The Biden administration has stated it desires to disclaim exemptions for taxes paid to nations that do not conform to a minimum fee.

The OECD stated final month that governments broadly agreed already on the fundamental design of the minimum tax though the speed stays to be agreed upon. International tax specialists say that is the thorniest difficulty.

Other objects nonetheless to be negotiated embody whether or not industries like funding funds and actual property funding trusts ought to be coated, when to use the brand new fee and making certain it is appropriate with the 2017 U.S. tax reforms aimed toward deterring tax-base erosion.


The Biden administration desires to boost the U.S. company tax fee to twenty-eight%, so it has proposed a global minimum of 21% – double the speed on the present GILTI tax. It additionally desires the minimum to use to U.S. firms regardless of the place the taxable earnings is earned.

That proposal is far above the 12.5% minimum tax that had beforehand been mentioned in OECD talks – a stage that occurs to match Ireland’s company tax fee.

The Irish economic system has boomed in recent times from the inflow of billions of {dollars} in funding from international multinationals, so Dublin, which has resisted European Union makes an attempt to harmonize its tax guidelines for greater than a decade, is unlikely to just accept a greater minimum fee with out a combat. Reuters

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