Chapter 4: The OECD’s BEPS Project and Lower-Income Countries

Authors: Michael C. Durst
Publisher: Tax Notes International
Date: July 2018


Chapter 4: Taxing Multinational Business in Lower-Income Countries

In reviewing the OECD’s BEPS process as it relates to lower-income countries, it may be useful to begin with a question about global tax institutions: Why, as controversy arose over base erosion and profit shifting after the 2008 Financial Crisis, did the OECD assume leadership of the ensuing intergovernmental study of the topic, instead of a more inclusive international organization like the United Nations? The OECD’s membership consists of 35 industrialized and relatively wealthy countries, whereas the United Nations consists of 193 member states at all levels of wealth and economic development. Especially given that the fiscal consequences of BEPS-style tax planning, as discussed in Chapter 2, seem disproportionately severe for lower-income countries, why did the BEPS process originate under the auspices of an organization comprised of relatively wealthy countries?