Base erosion and profit shifting Current Affairs - 2020
India has ratified Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures (MLI) to prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). It will pave way for amendments to double taxation avoidance agreements (DTAA) with countries signatories to convention to plug revenue leakages. The provisions enshrined in framework will come into effect from fiscal year 2020-21 for bilateral tax treaties.
Earlier on 25 June 2019 India deposited to OECD an Instrument of ratification, along with India’s final position in terms of reservations, Covered Tax Agreements (CTAs), options and notifications under MLI.
Impact: MLI will modify India’s tax treaties that will help reduce revenue loss due to treaty abuse and Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) strategies by ensuring that profits are taxed where ever substantive economic activities generating profits are carried out.
India’s DTAA with MLI shall get modified in following prominent ways-
- MLI will modify their application in order to implement BEPS measures. It will be applied alongside existing tax treaties.
- Avenues leading to avoidance of capital gains from alienation of shares or interests which derive value principally from immovable property would be plugged.
- Some dividend transfer transactions that are intended to lower withholding taxes payable on dividends artificially would also be prevented.
- As on date out of 93 CTAs notified by India, 22 countries have already ratified MLI and so DTAA with these countries will be modified by MLI.
- Once MLI comes into effect, India’s DTAA will have a new Preamble and Principal Purposes Test (PPTs).
- These changes would also lead to curbing of artificial avoidance of Permanent Establishment (PE) status through various arrangements.
Way Ahead: MLI will enter into force for India on 1 October 2019 and provisions enshrined in framework will come into effect on India’s DTAAs from fiscal year 2020-21 for bilateral tax treaties.
What is MLI?
The Multilateral Convention (MLI) is an outcome of OECD or G20 Project to tackle Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (called as BEPS Project). BEPS means tax planning strategies which exploit mismatches and gaps in tax rules so as to artificially shift profits to a low or no-tax location where there is little/no economic activity, which further results in little or no overall corporate tax being paid.
Tags: Base erosion and profit shifting • BEPS • BEPS project • Covered Tax Agreements • Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements
Both India and the US will sign an agreement to facilitate the exchange of country-by-country (CbC) reports filed by the ultimate parent corporations based in either of the countries.
Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) has been at the focus of OECD to address Tax evasion. Multinational companies were accused of gaming tax systems to maximise profits, while potentially depriving tax authorities of revenue.
To address this issue one of the measures adopted by OECD is Country-By-Country Reports. The Country-By-Country Reports requires multinational companies to provide information about:
- The name of each country where it operates.
- The names of all its subsidiaries and affiliates in these countries.
- The performance of each subsidiary and affiliate, without exception.
- The tax charge in its accounts of each subsidiary and affiliate in each country.
- Details of the cost and net book value of its fixed assets in each country.
- Details of its gross and net assets for each country.
Section 286 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 requires Indian subsidiaries of multinational companies to provide details of key financial statements from other jurisdictions where they operate. This provides the I-T Department with a better operational view of such companies, primarily with regards to revenue and income tax paid.
The proposed agreement will enable both India and the US to exchange CbC Reports filed by the ultimate parent entities of International Groups in the respective jurisdictions. As a result, Indian constituent entities of international groups headquartered in the USA, who have already filed CbC Reports in the USA, would not be required to do local filing of the CbC Reports of their international groups in India and vice versa.