International Tax

Low-income countries are more dependent on corporate income tax revenue than richer countries, and at the same time, disproportionately affected by multinational tax avoidance. Our research on this theme investigates ways in which developing countries can protect their tax bases, including through simplified transfer pricing methods and improved tax treaty policies. Our work on this theme also includes examination of the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) process from the perspective of developing countries, as well as exploring alternative methods of taxing multinational companies, namely unitary taxation.

Publications:

July 2018
Chapter 4: The OECD’s BEPS Project and Lower-Income Countries
by Michael C. Durst

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…

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June 2018
Chapter 3: The Historical Evolution of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting
by Michael C. Durst

This is Chapter 3 of the book “Taxing Multinational Business in Lower-Income Countries: A Problem of Economics, Politics and Ethical Norms”. This chapter examines the evolution, over almost a century, of the body of international tax laws that continues to insulate BEPS-style planning arrangements from successful legal challenge in countries around the world.

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Taxing Africa: Coercion, Reform and Development
by Mick Moore, Wilson Prichard & Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

Taxing Africa is an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the crucial debates around taxation and development in Africa. Taxation has been seen as the domain of charisma-free accountants, lawyers and number crunchers – an unlikely place to encounter big societal questions about democracy, equity or good governance. Yet it is exactly these issues that pervade…

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May 2018
Linking Beneficial Ownership Transparency to Improved Tax Revenue Collection in Developing Countries
by Wilson Prichard

Recent years have witnessed an accelerating push to expand access to information on the beneficial ownership of corporate entities, in an effort to bring greater transparency to multinational corporation (MNC) tax strategies, identify personal tax-evading wealth held overseas and combat global networks of criminality and corruption. This effort remains in its infancy, but has made…

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March 2018
Chapter 2: Poverty, Tax Competition, and Base Erosion
by Michael C. Durst

This is Chapter 2 of the book “Taxing Multinational Business in Lower-Income Countries: A Problem of Economics, Politics and Ethical Norms”. In this installment, which is Chapter 2, the author examines the basic economic dilemma faced by lower-income countries with respect to the corporate tax and offers an historical overview of BEPS-style corporate tax planning.

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February 2018
Chapter 1: Taxing Multinational Business in Low-Income Countries
by Michael C. Durst

The book explores a topic that has been highly controversial in recent years: the use by multinational companies of “base erosion and profit shifting” tax planning structures to reduce their tax liabilities in countries where they conduct business, including the world’s lower-income developing countries. In this instalment, which is Chapter 1, the author provides an…

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November 2017
Assisting Developing Countries in Taxation after the OECD’s BEPS Reports: A Suggested Approach for the Donor Community
by Michael C. Durst

This paper explores how the international donor community might most productively offer technical assistance to developing countries in the area of taxation, in light of the OECD’s recently completed study of ‘base erosion and profit shifting’ (BEPS). The paper addresses both the political and the technical constraints facing developing country tax administrations. It recommends that…

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November 2017
How Can Governments of Low-Income Countries Collect More Tax Revenue?
by Mick Moore & Wilson Prichard

It is widely believed that the governments of many low-income countries, and especially the relatively poor performers, should be aiming to increase the proportion of GDP they raise in tax revenue. There are risks in emphasising increasing revenue at the expense of other objectives. Governments also need to be concerned with questions of equity, efficiency,…

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October 2017
How Kenya has Implemented and Adjusted to the Changes in International Transfer Pricing Regulations: 1920-2016
by Attiya Waris

A large proportion of international trade in goods and services is conducted between what are known technically as related parties. In practice, most of this trade is between different companies forming part of the same transnational corporate grouping. This is typically highly integrated in economic and financial terms, while legally appearing as a set of…

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CMI Publication: Lifting the Veil of Secrecy – Perspectives on International Taxation and Capital Flight from Africa
by Odd-Helge Fjeldstad, Sigrid Klæboe Jacobsen, Peter Henriksen Ringstad & Honest Prosper Ngowi

This book is produced as a part of the research project Taxation, Institutions and Participation (TIP). TIP investigates the effects of tax havens on domestic revenue systems, institutions and on citizen participation in African countries. The project aims to generate new, contextualised evidence on the political economy of domestic revenue mobilisation, institutional development and state…

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Blogs:

May 2018
by Maya Forstater

Professor Sol Picciotto recently wrote an article which responds to a paper I wrote on the question of what is meant by “illicit financial flows” (IFFs) and in particular whether tax avoidance and tax planning by multinational enterprises should be included in the concept. As a reader of the ICTD website it is likely that…

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May 2018
by Sol Picciotto

In a recent paper, revised and published as a blog post, I argued that tax avoidance by multinationals should be included in the official definitions of illicit financial flows (IFFs). I argue that a broad definition of IFFs is essential, since they all use the offshore tax haven and secrecy system, which indeed multinationals helped…

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May 2018
by Wilson Prichard

Recent years have witnessed an accelerating push to expand access to information on the beneficial ownership of corporate entities, in an effort to bring greater transparency to multinational corporation tax strategies; identify personal tax-evading wealth held overseas; and combat global networks of criminality and corruption. There is enormous potential for these efforts to contribute to…

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