International tax avoidance has captured the public imagination, and regulators are also beginning to act, as the recent European Commission ruling on Apple in Ireland, and Australia’s proposed digital tax ably demonstrate.
According to David Bradbury, the rules that govern international taxation, or cross-border taxation, have been in place for around 100 years, and it’s time they were updated and addressed.
David is the Head of the Tax Policy and Statistics Division at the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration at the OECD. He is among key global leaders focused on what is known as base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS).
In 2013, the OECD began building a community of countries concerned about BEPS, which is a strategy multinational corporations use to avoid taxes.
“For some people this is about the big tech giants,” he said. “But, to be honest, the issue is broader than that because digitalisation is not just about a handful of companies, it’s a process that is changing the way most companies operate.”
To address BEPS, a consensus was reached among the 44 OECD and G20 countries and in 2015 the OECD published the BEPS project, which outlined strategies and identified risks as part of a 15 point action plan.
“We now have 114 members operating a forum on the basis of consensus,” he said. “Prior to the BEPS project, no such forum existed.”
Bradbury said that there is a groundswell of public opinion urging governments to ensure that just as an individual goes to work and pays taxes, so too does a multi-national company also pay its tax liability.
David Bradbury is speaking at WCOA 2018 on November 6 at 11:00am as part of the session ‘Global Tax Leaks, Tweaks, BEPS and Bots’