November 7, 2023
OECD releases tax report to G20 Finance Ministers and seventh annual progress report of the Inclusive Framework
On 11 October 2023, the OECD released the Secretary-General Tax Report to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (the Secretary-General Report) ahead of the fourth and final meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors under the Indian Presidency that took place on 12 and 13 October. The report provides an update on activities with respect to the G20's international tax agenda, including ongoing work on the BEPS 2.0 project, tax transparency, tax and crime, tax and inequality, and global mobility.
On the same date, the OECD also published the seventh annual progress report of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) (the Progress Report). The Progress Report describes developments in the work on addressing the tax challenges of the digitalization of the economy (the BEPS 2.0 project) as well as other activities of the Inclusive Framework during the period from September 2021 to September 2022.
The communiqué issued at the conclusion of the G20 Finance Ministers meeting does not have a section on international taxation. However, it includes the commitment to taking forward the actions on Finance Track issues as mandated by the G20 Leaders in the New Delhi Leaders' Declaration, and it welcomes the upcoming 2024 G20 Presidency of Brazil.
On 9 and 10 September 2023, at the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India, the G20 Leaders issued a declaration at the conclusion of the meeting, reaffirming their commitment to continued cooperation toward a globally fair, sustainable and modern international tax system appropriate to the needs of the 21st Century.
The G20 Leader's declaration welcomed the progress made on Pillar One, including the delivery of a text of a Multilateral Convention (MLC) on Amount A and the work on Amount B as well as the completion of the work on the development of the Subject to Tax Rule (STTR) under Pillar Two. The G20 Leaders called on the Inclusive Framework to swiftly resolve the few pending issues relating to the Amount A MLC with a view to preparing it for signature within the second half of 2023 and completing the work on Amount B by the end of 2023. The declaration also called for the implementation of other initiatives, including the Crypto Asset Reporting Framework (CARF) and amendments to the Common Reporting Standard (CRS). More broadly and not specific to taxation matters, the declaration recalls a recent United Nations statement on strengthening multilateralism and international cooperation and notes the necessity of a more inclusive and revitalized approach to multilateralism and reform aimed at implementing the 2030 agenda.
G20 Finance Ministers meeting communiqué
The communiqué issued at the close of the G20 Finance Ministers 12-13 October meeting reflects the commitment to advance the actions mandated by the G20 Leaders, stating:
We commit ourselves to taking forward the actions mandated by our Leaders in the New Delhi Leaders' Declaration on Finance Track issues. We welcome the upcoming 2024 G20 Presidency of Brazil and look forward to continuing our work on enhancing global economic cooperation to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.
The communiqué also welcomes the step taken by the Financial Action Task Force in finalizing guidance on trusts and other legal arrangements and reflects the commitment to effectively implement the associated revised standard on beneficial ownership transparency.
October 2023 OECD Secretary-General Report
The Secretary-General Report includes an update on the ongoing work on Pillars One and Two, indicating that implementation of the global minimum tax is now well underway and the rules will come into effect from the beginning of 2024. It indicates that, to date, approximately 55 jurisdictions have taken steps toward implementing the Global anti-Base Erosion (GloBE) rules and some jurisdictions are considering introducing an entirely new corporate income tax regime as a response to Pillar Two. The Secretary-General Report also notes the release of the Pillar Two Implementation Handbook, which provides an overview of the key provisions of the global minimum tax rules and considerations to be taken into account by tax policy and administration officials and other stakeholders in assessing their implementation options, as well as the MLC to Facilitate the Implementation of the Pillar Two STTR.1
Regarding Pillar One, the Secretary-General Report provides an update on the work on Amount B, and it highlights the release of the Amount A MLC package, which includes the text of the MLC, an Explanatory Statement, and the Understanding on the Application of Certainty.
The Secretary-General Report discusses developments with respect to tax transparency, noting recent updates on information reporting for crypto-assets, the implementation of effective information exchange practices, and the release of the three reports in this area in the past year.2 In this regard, the Secretary-General Report states that further work is needed to foster transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes and to ensure that all interested jurisdictions can reap the benefits of enhanced transparency.
In addition, the Secretary-General Report includes a status update on jurisdictions' implementation of the minimum standards established in the original BEPS project. The Secretary-General Report also contains brief updates on several other areas of ongoing work, including tax and crime, tax and inequality, and global mobility.
Seventh annual progress report of the Inclusive Framework
The Progress Report describes the progress made to deliver on the mandate of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework, covering the period from September 2022 to September 2023.
With respect to Pillar One, the Progress Report states that all the substantive components required for implementing Amount A through the MLC have undergone public consultations, yielding valuable input from stakeholders. Although a text of the MLC has been made public, it includes footnotes noting where some jurisdictions have raised concerns regarding specific provisions in it. Efforts are currently underway to address these concerns, with the goal of swiftly preparing the MLC for signature.
With respect to Amount B of Pillar One, which is intended to provide for fixed returns for baseline marketing and distribution activities, the Inclusive Framework recently released the Amount B framework for a second public consultation and invited stakeholder input on a number of aspects that will be subject to further work. The objective is to finalize Amount B by the end of the year with a view to incorporating key aspects into the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines by January 2024.
On Pillar Two, the Progress Report notes that the implementation package has been released in three stages. The first segment was made public in December 2022 and encompassed guidance on Safe Harbors and Penalty Relief, introducing a transitional safe harbor based on Country-by-Country Reports and a framework for development of permanent safe harbors.3 In February 2023, a package of Administrative Guidance was released, providing further information on rule operations, including transition rules and the design of Qualified Domestic Minimum Top-up Taxes (QDMTT).4 In July 2023, another guidance package was issued, which included two new safe harbors, one permanent for jurisdictions implementing QDMTT, and another transitional undertaxed profits rule (UTPR) Safe Harbor providing relief from UTPR application until the end of 2025. This package also included detailed administrative guidance on currency conversion rules, the substance-based income exclusion, and the treatment of tax credits.5 All this guidance from the past year will be consolidated into a revised version of the commentary, which will replace the original Commentary issued in March 2022 and is scheduled for release later in 2023.
The Progress Report indicates that the Inclusive Framework will now develop a peer review process that will allow jurisdictions and stakeholders to identify the "qualified" rules of jurisdictions and ensure coordination among implementing jurisdictions. The Inclusive Framework will work on tax certainty and explore frameworks for dispute resolution and also will develop a model competent authority agreement to facilitate the automatic exchange of GloBE information as well as IT-solutions to support the exchange of information, in particular a dedicated XML schema.
Regarding the 15 Actions under the original BEPS project, the Progress Report states that steady progress has continued, in particular on the implementation of the four BEPS minimum standards. Among other things, the Progress Report indicates that 319 preferential tax regimes have been reviewed under Action 5 (Harmful Tax Practices) and almost 50,000 tax rulings have been exchanged among members of the Inclusive Framework. On Action 6 (Tax Treaty Abuse), as of 1 September 2023, the Multilateral Instrument has been signed by 100 jurisdictions and effectively modifies approximately 1,200 treaties concluded among the 83 jurisdictions that have ratified, accepted or approved it. On Action 13 (Country-by-Country (CbC) reporting), the Progress Report notes that more than 110 jurisdictions have already introduced CbC reporting legislation and that work on the 2020 review of BEPS Action 13 is expected to resume in the second half of 2023.
On Action 14 (Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP)), efforts are ongoing to align tax treaties, MAP policy, and MAP practice of Inclusive Framework member jurisdictions with the Action 14 minimum standard. The Action 14 peer review process, along with the data reported in the MAP Statistics from 2023 onward, aims to promote global compliance with the Action 14 standard. 6
The Progress Report also notes progress in other BEPS Action items over the past year, with particular attention to Action 1 (Tax Challenges of the Digitalisation of the Economy), noting developments on addressing challenges in collecting value-added taxes (VAT) on digital trade, and Action 11 (BEPS Data Analysis), where the Corporate Tax Statistics database continues to expand its coverage with more up-to-date CbC report data. The Progress Report indicates that the fifth edition of the Corporate Tax Statistics report, covering more than 160 jurisdictions, will be released in the second half of 2023, feature data from more than 7,400 MNEs based on reporting from more than 50 jurisdictions and include two years of data (2019 and 2020).
The BEPS 2.0 project contemplates significant changes in the overall international tax architecture under which multinational businesses operate. Although Pillar Two is farther advanced, with new global minimum tax rules set to take effect in some jurisdictions in 2024, work is continuing on both pillars.
It is important for companies to follow these developments closely as they unfold in the coming months and to evaluate the potential impact of international tax changes on their businesses. In addition, companies will need to monitor implementation activity in relevant countries.
For additional information with respect to this Alert, please contact the following:
Ernst & Young Belastingadviseurs LLP (Netherlands)
Ernst & Young LLP (United States)
1 See EY Global Tax Alert, OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework launches Multilateral Convention to implement the Subject to Tax Rule, dated 12 October 2023.
2 See EY Global Tax Alert, G20 Finance Ministers welcome progress made on BEPS 2.0 project, dated 27 July 2023.
3 See EY Global Tax Alert, OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework releases document on safe harbors and penalty relief under Pillar Two GloBE rules, dated 21 December 2022.
4 See EY Global Tax Alert, OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework releases Administrative Guidance under Pillar Two GloBE Rules: Detailed Review, dated 9 February 2023.
5 See EY Global Tax Alert, OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework releases additional Administrative Guidance on Pillar Two GloBE Rules: Detailed review, dated 21 July 2023.
6 See EY Global Tax Alert, OECD releases revised methodology for BEPS Action 14 peer reviews and updates on reporting of MAP and APA statistics, dated 17 February 2023.
Published by NTD’s Tax Technical Knowledge Services group; Carolyn Wright, legal editor