The new OECD report “Addressing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting” is here.
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A number of indicators show that the tax practices of some multinational companies have become more aggressive over time, raising serious compliance and fairness issues.
The report talks a lot about hows rules can be tightened and reformed, but the elephant in the room here are the big accountancy and auditing firms who concoct and enable all of the strategies to begin with. Internationally, the professional partnerships have sold out their public trust in exchange for the lucrative rewards of enabling companies to dodge tax. It is long past time to question whether the model of oversight by “independent” professionals works for large multinational firms(or if it ever did).
We know that oversight by professional doesn’t work _at all_ for firms in Ireland, so this is a debate we should have a keen interest in.
One study looks specifically at the effects of income-shifting practices of United States based MNEs (Clausing, 2011). Using data from the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis, the study finds large discrepancies between the physical operations of affiliates abroad and the locations in which they report their profits for tax purposes: the top ten locations for affiliate employment (in order: the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, China, Germany, France, Brazil, India, Japan, Australia) barely match with the top ten locations for gross profits reporting (in order: the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Canada, Bermuda, Switzerland, Singapore, Germany, Norway and Australia).
OECD calls for reform of global corporate tax rules
Denknetz, a left of centre Swiss think-tank, estimates Switzerland’s tax regimes deprives other countries of up to 36.5 billion francs (€29.6bn; $39 billion) in tax revenue each year - - equivalent to double Spain’s corporate tax revenues in 2011.