On July 1, 2021 the OECD announced that 130 of the Inclusive Framework’s (IF) 139 members, together representing more than 90% of global GDP, joined a Statement establishing a new framework for international tax reform (the joined Statement on a Two-Pillar Solution to Address the Tax Challenges Arising From the Digitalisation of the Economy). However when reading several press release issued by different Ministries of Finance, the question rises what the final position of some of the signatories will be?
We already reported that the Irish Ministry of Finance (a non-signatory) issued a press release stating that Ireland broadly supports the OECD’s Inclusive Framework Agreement on key aspects of new international tax rules with reservation and that therefore Ireland had not yet joined the statement.
The Swiss Ministry of Finance and the Liechtenstein Ministry of Finance (both signatories to the joint statement) have issued press releases that could make one question what their final position on a Two-Pillar Solution to Address the Tax Challenges Arising From the Digitalisation of the Economy will be.
“Switzerland conditionally supports key parameters for international corporate taxation
On 1 July 2021, the OECD Inclusive Framework, with 139 member countries at present, published key parameters for the future taxation of large companies that operate internationally. Switzerland supports these in the sense of continuing the work, while maintaining its reservations and conditions. The key parameters provide for a moderate shift of taxing rights to market jurisdictions and a global minimum tax rate of at least 15%.
Despite major reservations, Switzerland – like a few other countries – conditionally supports these key parameters in the sense of continuing the project. For example, Switzerland explicitly called for the interests of small, innovative countries to be appropriately taken into account in the final design of the rules and national legislative procedures to be respected in terms of implementation. In addition, the new rules should be applied uniformly by the member countries and a balanced solution should be found between tax rate and tax base in the case of minimum taxation. Accordingly, Switzerland also intervened during today's Inclusive Framework meeting.
A multilateral agreement should ensure that a proliferation of national solutions is prevented and thereby create legal certainty. Numerous countries, especially large ones, had announced that they would go it alone if an OECD solution failed. Potentially affected companies in Switzerland had already stressed the importance of a multilateral agreement…”
The Liechtenstein Ministry of Finance has issued a press release that reads as follows:
“Taxation of the digitized economy
The BEPS Inclusive Framework of the OECD/G20, to which 139 countries - including Liechtenstein - belong, dealt with the proposals for taxing the digitized economy on Thursday, July 1, 2021. A declaration published by the OECD provides information on the current status of the discussions and work.
Liechtenstein has already introduced its position in the run-up to and at the Inclusive Framework meeting. Although Liechtenstein (like amongst others Switzerland, Luxembourg and Singapore) did not reject the emerging global consensus, important questions remain unanswered. Liechtenstein has clearly expressed its concerns and reservations on several occasions.
Liechtenstein's position remains that everything must be done to find a global solution that does not interfere even more with the sovereignty of the individual states, that does not hinder economic development and that leads to the lifting of unilateral measures. In particular, the positions of small and competitive countries must also be taken into account. Intensive work is still necessary to translate the global consensus into a globally implementable solution. The next meeting of the Inclusive Framework is scheduled for October 2021. Liechtenstein coordinates intensively with various states that have similar interests.
The government is monitoring the further process very closely. It is clear that the first step in particular towards a global minimum taxation for large corporations will in a certain way limit one of Liechtenstein's locational advantages. The government deals with international developments with foresight and endeavors to further strengthen Liechtenstein's numerous locational advantages.”
Seeing the above mentioned press releases we are very curious to see what the final positions of Switzerland and Liechtenstein on the Two-Pillar Solution to Address the Tax Challenges Arising From the Digitalization of the Economy will be.
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